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Taiwan warns that China’s recent military exercises are a rehearsal for a real invasion.
The disputed island has been surrounded in recent days by Chinese military ships and a display of power on behalf of Beijing.
The Chinese Communist Party is openly outraged that a congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island last week.
The delegation went ahead with the visit in direct opposition to Chinese demands that the US abort the meeting.
CHINA SANCTIONS HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI ON ‘MAJOR PROVOCATION’ VISIT TO TAIWAN
After Pelosi’s departure, the Chinese Navy and Air Force began conducting military exercises in six zones around Taiwan with some overlapping Taiwanese territorial waters.
The US responded by deploying various warships to the area.
US officials, including senior members of President Biden’s cabinet, have recognized the legitimacy of China’s threats to Taiwan.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China’s military exercises, including missiles it recently fired into the Taiwan Strait and Japan’s economic zone, represent a “significant escalation”.
“China has chosen to overreact, using Chairman Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait,” he told a group of reporters at the ASEAN conference on Friday.
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Japan, an ally of both Taiwan and the United States in East Asia, has expressed its own concerns.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles “threatened” Japanese National Security and the life of the Japanese people, whom we strongly condemn.”
The problem in Japan is exacerbated by the lack of a formal permanent army on the island, which is prohibited by the constitution. Japan maintains a small “defense force” for protection.
China often threatens to forcibly annex Taiwan if necessary, while Japan and the US continue to increase their military readiness to potentially respond to such an attack.
Lawrence Richards of Fox News contributed to this report.