Unprecedented live-fire drills encircling the island will block flights and shipping as analysts predict further punitive measures
The US House Speaker’s visit was seen by Beijing as a ‘malicious’ provocation but she said it was necessary to show solidarity with the island
China is set to launch an unprecedented military drill that effectively blockades Taiwan until Sunday afternoon following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
During her brief stay Pelosi met President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior politicians as well as human rights activists, before flying on to South Korea on Wednesday afternoon.
Her visit to the island, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province, has plunged the China-US relationship to new depths and triggered the worst crisis over the Taiwan Strait for decades. Beijing saw the trip as an explicit provocation and a move to embolden the island’s independence-leaning government. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi lashed out at the visit, saying it “maliciously violated China’s sovereignty” and proved that the US was the “biggest destroyer of peace and regional stability in the Taiwan Strait”. Beijing followed the condemnation with a slew of punitive measures against Taiwan, including live-drills in six areas around the island’s coastline that will run between noon on Thursday and the same time on Sunday.