Taiwan's defence ministry has said Chinese military exercises have infiltrated its territory and effectively blocked its sea and air space after Nancy Pelosi visited the island.
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives took a trip to Taiwan this week, when she was greeted by the country's foreign minister, Joseph Wu, and the country's top US representative, Sandra Oudkirk.
Pelosi said the trip was a show of the US's unwavering commitment to Taiwan, which Beijing has claimed is a breakaway province, but China fiercely criticised the trip and branded it a threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan's leaders say it is more than a breakaway province and is a sovereign state.
China moves more military equipment to the Fujian area, on the edge of the Taiwan Strait. pic.twitter.com/69JnPbrBEN— Nguyen Ken (@NguyenK68421403) August 2, 2022
In the wake of the visit, the Chinese navy and air force carried out exercises around Taiwan, which the Taiwan Defence Ministry said China claimed were a violation of United Nations rules.
It claimed the live-fire exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan were 'endangering international shipping lanes, challenging the international order, undermining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and endangering the area', and has been forced to ask ships to find alternative routes to avoid the Chinese drill areas.
James Chater, a freelance journalist and photographer based in Taipei, cited reports to Sky News suggesting live-fire drills 'are now taking place as close as 12 nautical miles from the Taiwanese mainland'.
He explained: "That marks a significant escalation from any of the grey zone warfare that we typically see from China targeted towards Taiwan on an almost daily basis."
Even before Pelosi landed after a nighttime flight, Chinese warplanes began flying along the line that divides the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese military announced that joint air and sea drills would begin on Tuesday night, and live-fire drills and other exercises are expected to continue in the area from Thursday (4 August) until Sunday.
Pelosi stood by her decision to visit the country in a statement made shortly after landing, saying: "Our congressional delegation's visit to Taiwan honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy.
America's solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy."
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, has thanked Pelosi for the support for the island and made clear it would not back down even in the face of heightened military threats from China.
Tsai also assured Taiwan would continue to work with the US to improve security, economic development and supply chains.By Rabiu Olugbenga