China punishes Taiwan for Pelosi trip, declares 'danger zones' | 7 points
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the visit show that the US will not abandon its commitment to the self-governing island.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan trip has ratcheted up tension between Washington and Beijing despite assurance from the White House that there has been no change in its long-standing “one-China” policy. Pelosi's visit is being followed very closely around the world and especially in China, where the country's microblogging platform, Weibo, briefly crashed as millions discussed and debated her Asia trip.
Here are the latest updates on Pelosi's Taiwan visit:
- Patriotic fervour erupted on Chinese social media over Pelosi's Taiwan visit as many internet users called a more muscular response from their government. Hashtags related to Pelosi's visit, such as "the resolve to realise national reunification is rock solid", went viral on China's Weibo microblogging platform, reported Reuters.
- China announced retaliatory live-fire military drill around Taiwan and warned airlines operating in Asia to avoid the airspace designated as “danger zones”, which the trade-reliant island said amounted to a "blockade".
- Taiwan's defence ministry described the drills as "an irrational move to challenge the international order" but China insisted that it has not seen drills causing freedom of navigation issues. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing that Chinese military actions were meant as a deterrent to Taiwan. She added that Beijing's response will be "resolute, forceful and effective".
- Taiwan has, meanwhile, started negotiations with neighbouring Japan and the Philippines to find alternative aviation routes, the official Central News Agency (CNA) reported.
- China suspended exports of natural sand to Taiwan and halted imports of fruit and fish products from the self-governed island. It has also vowed to take "disciplinary actions" against Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and Taiwan Foreign Ministry's International Cooperation and Development Fund, saying they had aggressively engaged in pro-independence separatist activities.
- While Pelosi became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, drawing China's ire, the US House Speaker hinted that the anger was not because of her political position but because of her gender. She noted that several US senators, including the chair of the foreign relations committee, had visited the self-ruled island.
- Pelosi said, “They made a big fuss because I’m the speaker, I guess. I don’t know if that was a reason or an excuse. Because they didn’t say anything when the men came."
(With inputs from Bloomberg, Reuters)