US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R) and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speak to the press after a bipartisan meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on April 5, 2023. InternationalIndiaAfricaThe drills come after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US politicians during a tour of Central America.The Chinese military said Saturday morning that it will hold three days of military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and around Taiwan.The announcement comes after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and 17 other American politicians. While the announcement did not mention Tsai or the meeting, it came just hours after her 10-day tour, which included Central America and stops in New York and Los Angeles, California.The People’s Liberation Army said it will perform exercises “as planned” in the area and will run additional exercises codenamed “Joint Sharp Sword.” The statement says the exercises will run until Monday.In addition, military exercises are planned off the coast of Fuzhou, Fujian to the northwest of Taiwan, those exercises will continue in the coming weeks, scheduled for April 11, 13, 15, 17 and 20.This is the second time in less than a year that a US House speaker met with Tsai, causing increasing tensions between the United States, Taiwan and China. In August, Tsai met with McCarthy’s predecessor Nancy Pelosi when she traveled to Taipei. China condemned that meeting and held similar military drills around the island.These exercises are further away from Taiwan’s coastline than the previous ones held by China, and the PLA regularly practices live-fire drills off the coast of Fujian.AnalysisTaiwan Ex-Leader’s Historic Visit to China Ahead of Tsai’s US Trip Exposes Political Divisions6 April, 13:51 GMTThe United States attempted to present Tsai’s visit as a simple layover on her way to Central America, but that assertion came into doubt when Tsai, McCarthy and other US politicians held a public, televised press conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. During the conference, McCarthy said the bond between Taiwan and the United States “is stronger now than at any time or point in my life.” The plane Regan used for Air Force One loomed in the background while the two spoke to the press.
Before the drills were announced, both China and the United States sent warships to the area after the Tsai’s meeting. The United States and China relations have also deteriorated due to disputes over sea lanes in the South China Sea and alleged surveillance by both sides.
Meanwhile, Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, just returned from a trip to mainland China, where he promoted the one-China framework and criticized the Tsai administration for putting the island’s future in jeopardy. During Ma’s administration, relations between China and Taiwan improved, with trade and flights between the two entities increasing during his time in office. Ma was the first former or current Taiwanese president to visit China since the Republic of China government fled to the island after being defeated by the Communist Party in 1949, though Ma did meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore in 2015.US-China Tensions Over TaiwanChina Sanctions Two American Entities Over Taiwan7 April, 04:53 GMTOfficially, the United States does not recognize the Republic of China and supports the “One-China” policy; however, the US insists that unification should come through peaceful means. Despite no formal relations with Taipei, Washington has been providing the island with military assistance to fend off any potential invasion by Beijing.During his visit to China, Ma said it was the responsibility of all Chinese people to encourage peace between the two governments. “We sincerely hope that the two sides will work together to pursue peace, avoid war, and strive to revitalize China,” Ma said while using a Chinese term that refers to ethnicity rather than nationality. “This is an unavoidable responsibility of Chinese people on both sides of the Strait, and we must work hard.”China earlier issued sanctions on the Hudson Institute and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in response to Tsai’s meeting with McCarthy. The sanctions ban senior executives from entering or doing business in China.