After making a series of bellicose statements before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan on Tuesday, China then engaged in what many saw as a series of provocative military actions.
According to reports, the Taiwanese government said that some of its websites had been hit with a cyberattack after Pelosi landed on Tuesday, as Chinese naval vessels including an aircraft carrier battle group moved into waters closer to the island. Beijing, meanwhile, vowed “targeted military actions” as well.
At the same time, Taiwan has put its military on high alert and has warned its citizens to be ready, while also seeking to reassure them.
“The Chinese maneuvers aim to intimidate our citizens psychologically… We are closely monitoring the situation and have strengthened our preparations… We have confidence and the ability to protect our security,” said a Taiwanese government statement.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is on high alert and will launch a series of targeted military operations to counter this, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart external interference and ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist attempts,” defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement condemning the visit, according to The Hindustan Times.
Earlier Tuesday, the Taiwanese government announced that someone had launched a cyberattack against the island.
“Taiwanese authorities confirmed Tuesday that the Office of the President’s website fell victim to an overseas cyberattack that caused the site to be down for 20 minutes, according to local reporters. The president’s office reportedly confirmed that Tuesday’s attack traffic was 200 times that of a normal day,” Fox News reported.
For her part, Pelosi, a California Democrat third in line to the presidency as House speaker, was undeterred, claiming upon landing that the U.S. “stood with” the people of Taiwan.
Our visit reiterates that America stands with Taiwan: a robust, vibrant democracy and our important partner in the Indo-Pacific. pic.twitter.com/2sSRJXN6ST
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 2, 2022
In addition, 26 Republican senators who are usually at odds with Pelosi over legislation nevertheless backed her trip.
“We support Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan,” they said in a statement.
“For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have traveled to Taiwan. This travel is consistent with the United States’ One China policy to which we are committed. We are also committed now, more than ever, to all elements of the Taiwan Relations Act.”
“The Speaker has the right to visit Taiwan and the Speaker of the House has visited Taiwan before, without incident,” said White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby. “As have many members of Congress, including this year.”
“Put simply, there is no reason for Beijing to turn a simple visit, consistent with long-standing U.S. policy into some sort of crisis or conflict, or to use it to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait,” Kirby added.
The Epoch Times reported as well:
Likewise, the Republican statement issued Tuesday underscores that there is no change to the United States’s longstanding policies and norms of behavior regarding China and Taiwan.
The CCP considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province that must be united with the mainland and has not ruled out the use of force to accomplish such. Taiwan, for its part, has been self-governed since 1949, has never been controlled by the CCP, and has an independent democratic government and thriving market economy.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an interview with Fox News that he thinks the Chinese are simply saber-rattling. He referenced similar bellicose warnings in 1997 when he visited Taiwan after he was invited by China to give speeches there.
“They backed down,” he said Monday, referring to the Chinese government. “Their current bluff is just that.”
“Look, they are harassing Taiwan every week. They are flying aircraft into Taiwanese space. They recently announced a live-fire zone off of Taiwan,” he added. “They’re doing all they can to rattle the Taiwanese people, who are 24 million free people with a free election and a free news media, who produce, by the way, about 67 percent of the world’s high-value computer chips. So it’s a very important place.”
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