After Nancy Pelosi’s provocative and reckless visit to Taiwan this week, tensions between the island nation and Beijing have escalated to breaking point.
As Pelosi touched down on the island in Air Force One on Tuesday, the Chinese military made its presence felt. 21 military jets from Beijing swarmed the skies while amphibious Chinese tanks paraded Xiamen City beaches in Fuijan just a few kilometres away from the Taiwanese island of Kinmen.
Beijing announced it will now begin four days of military exercises just off the coast of the islands in a direct response to Pelosi’s visit. Chinese state broadcaster, CCTV reported the start of an “important military training exercise and organized live fire”.
The People’s Liberation Army said it was conducting “long-range live-fire shooting training” in the Taiwan strait which would include “precision strikes on specific areas in the eastern part”.
House Speaker, Pelosi doggedly went ahead with her diplomatic visit to Taiwan this week despite stark warnings from China that the US was “playing with fire”.
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Today, Taiwan’s military said it was “preparing for war without seeking war” while the Taiwanese foreign ministry said it “strongly condemns” Beijing for “following the example of North Korea in wilfully test-firing missiles into waters near other countries”.
While Taiwan does have its own military, its 170,000 active personnel would be no match for a super-power like China, which boasts the world’s largest military with around 2.8 million soldiers – twice the size of the US army.
Following Pelosi’s visit, experts say China could now be on the brink of invading Taiwan as soon as within the next year and a half.
US senior officials told Fox News that the Chinese government could see the period before the next US presidential election as a vital window of opportunity to initiate a military invasion.
“We have always had and always been aware that China has an ever-present, ever-evolving plan for an amphibious assault and military invasion of Taiwan. If they are not successful in reunifying politically, then they will do so with force,” said one source.
“What is different now is, we have intelligence that this has gone from an indefinite, nebulous scenario, to a belief that there is a window of opportunity in the next 18 months,” he continued.
“I don’t think that’s a coincidence that window of opportunity is within a Biden administration.”
This intelligence could suggest that Beijing considers the Biden administration as being both a soft-touch and Pelosi’s visit as a good excuse to up-scale its aggression against Taiwan.
“The window is now between the Party Congress and the next U.S. presidential election,” said a former senior Trump administration official.
“I think we are in a very dangerous two-year window right now.”
Russian politics may also factor into the mix. While the West has cut all ties with Russia, it the Kremlin has taken the opportunity to strengthen its relationship with China. The two military superpowers joining forces, spurred on by a definitive timeframe could end up being the perfect storm for an international conflict.
— Maha Said So (@MahaSaidSo) August 1, 2022
And all thanks to Pelosi’s reckless attention seeking!
Meanwhile, a White House National Security Council Spokesman said the US “will not seek and does not want a crisis”.
“We are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do. We will not engage in saber-rattling, and we’re not looking to escalate,” said the spokesman.
“At the same time, we’re going to be steady and resolute. We will not be deterred from operating in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific as we have done for decades.
“We will continue to support Taiwan, consistent with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, and defend a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he continued.
“We’re communicating closely with our allies and partners. And we are maintaining open lines of communication Beijing,
“We will keep doing what we are doing — supporting cross-Strait peace and stability.”