China flies missiles over Taiwan
- China increased its military exercise areas from six to seven and extended the operations for one day to August 8, media reported. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) yesterday announced the conclusion of live ammunition drills and lifted the sea and airspace control in the region. Before that, the Chinese army fired nine missiles over Taiwan in just an hour. This was the first time the PLA had flown any projectile across the island. Taipei has not responded by military actions, while the U.S. and Japan had much smaller-scale joint exercises near Okinawa. Japan said five of the missiles fell in its “Exclusive Economic Zone”, a zone China does not acknowledge.
- The live-fire exercises near major ports around the island, although lasting as short as one day, had a strong deterrent effect on Taiwan separatists. As an economy heavily reliant on external resources, Taiwan would face severe shortage of essential supplies in an enduring blockade. The island has only 10-11 days of natural gas storage, 39 days of coal stockpiles, and 146 days of crude oil reserves.
- The person who ignited the crisis, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, continues her tour in Asia. After failing to see President Yoon Suk-yeol in South Korea, Pelosi met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the morning. At the following news conference, Pelosi warned, “We will not allow [Beijing] to isolate Taiwan.” She added that Beijing was “probably using our visit as an excuse,” echoing a previous G7 statement questioning the justification of the military operation.
- But a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday said the Biden administration and Speaker Pelosi were staging “a double act” (唱双簧 chang shuanghuang). Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the visit a “performance” and a “political gamble,” stressing that the incident was “orchestrated and incited single-handedly by the United States.” Wang, who was attending the ASEAN-plus foreign ministers’ meetings in Cambodia, refused to meet with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts.