China sanctioned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her immediate family Friday for her “vicious” and “provocative” trip to Taiwan — while firing missiles directly over the island’s capital, Taipei.
The sanctions and alarming military drills are the latest punishment for Pelosi’s 19-hour trip, the highest-level US visit in 25 years to the self-governed island that China maintains is part of its sovereign territory.
“Despite China’s serious concerns and firm opposition, Pelosi insisted on visiting Taiwan, seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs, undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, trampling on the one-China policy, and threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said.
Beijing also said Friday that it is canceling or suspending talks with the US on issues from climate change to military relations and anti-drug efforts in retaliation for the 82-year-old leading Democrat’s visit.
The heightened action came on the second day of China launching missiles in the area, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday called a “significant escalation.”
The military drills — thought to be the largest ever in the area — had already largely surrounded Taiwan, which accused China of encroaching on its territory.
The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command bragged that it had fired new versions of missiles that hit unidentified targets in the Taiwan Strait “with precision.”
On Friday, at least four of the missiles were tracked flying directly over Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, according to Japan’s defense ministry.
Japan also claimed that five missiles fired toward its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), prompting a diplomatic protest by Tokyo.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi called it a “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people.”
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the military exercises a “grave problem” that threatens regional peace and security in the area.
China confirmed that more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have also taken part in the live-fire military drills, which are due to continue until noon Sunday.
The official Xinhua News Agency said that fighters, bombers, destroyers and frigates were all used in what it called “joint blockage operations” taking place in six zones around the island.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying insisted China’s actions were in line with “international law and international practices,” without elaborating or offering proof.,
“As for the Exclusive Economic Zone, China and Japan have not carried out maritime delimitation in relevant waters, so there is no such thing as an EEZ of Japan,” Hua told reporters at a daily briefing.
However, Blinken insisted Friday that “there is no possible justification for what they’ve done and urge them to cease these actions.”
He said the situation had led to a “vigorous communication” during East Asia Summit meetings in Cambodia in which both he and China’s foreign minister took part Friday.
“I reiterated the points that we made publicly as well as directly to Chinese counterparts in recent days, again, about the fact that they should not use the visit as a pretext for war, escalation, for provocative actions,” he said.
Pelosi remained defiant Friday as she wrapped up her Asia tour, insisting it was “ridiculous” that her supportive trip to Taiwan had sparked such an alarming escalation by Beijing.
“They may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there,” she said.
“Our friendship with Taiwan is a strong one. It is bipartisan in the House and in the Senate, overwhelming support for peace and the status quo in Taiwan,” she said.
With Post wires