China’s military simulated precision strikes on Taiwan Saturday, its second day of military exercises around the island, in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
China began conducting military drills around Taiwan when Tsai returned to the island from her trip to California, according to Reuters. The Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command released an animation on WeChat, the Chinese messaging and payment platform, showing missiles fired from land, sea and air hitting Taiwan. (RELATED: Xi Is Losing Control Of Chinese Military’s Harassment Tactics, US Navy Intel Official Says)
Beijing’s maritime security administration announced Thursday a three-day patrol of the waters surrounding Taiwan to be conducted by a force operating out of the Fujian province. Taiwan said Thursday it would formally protest China’s military actions but did not expect an escalation.
Taiwan’s defense ministry reported they spotted 70 Chinese aircraft and 11 ships around Taiwan, as of 0800 GMT Sunday, according to Reuters. The ministry is particularly focused on the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force, the unit in charge of China’s land missile system.
Taiwan is a sovereign democratic nation viewed by China as its own territory. The U.S. does not have formal relations with Taiwan under its strategic ambiguity doctrine. Nonetheless, the U.S. provides military support to the island and maintains a trading relationship with Taiwan.
President Tsai traveled to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California Wednesday and met with a bipartisan congressional delegation led by Speaker McCarthy. “I am the Speaker of the House. There is no place that China is going to tell me where I can go or who I can speak to, whether you be foe or whether you be friend,” McCarthy said during the meeting.
I am the Speaker of the House. There is no place that China is going to tell me where I can go or who I can speak to. pic.twitter.com/9N37s6jr8D
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) April 8, 2023
The Speaker initially planned to meet with Tsai in Taiwan, but decided to meet her at the end of her North American tour to avoid provoking China in the same way former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did when she traveled to the island in August 2022.
At the same time, Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, led a delegation of lawmakers on a surprise visit to Taiwan. McCaul compared Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping to Hitler in a speech delivered alongside Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te.