China’s live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait are expected to conclude today. China’s military began the drills in the
China’s live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait are expected to conclude today.
China’s military began the drills in the seas and airspace around Taiwan on Thursday in response to US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan on Wednesday. The drills followed similar military exercises in the South China Sea earlier in the week and included the firing of ballistic missiles—the first time China has fired missiles so close to Taiwan since 1996.
The military drills reflect Beijing’s anger at Pelosi’s trip specifically and the strengthening of US support for Taiwan more generally. Washington is likely to respond by managing the diplomatic repercussions—including Beijing’s ending of bilateral defense cooperation—by maintaining US policy that supports Beijing’s One China Policy. Indeed, US President Joe Biden has already distanced himself from the trip. However, it likely serves White House interests to keep Beijing on notice that Washington’s current focus on Ukraine does not mean America has downgraded ties to Taiwan.
Expect US-Chinese tensions to heighten in the short-to-medium term leading up to Xi Jinping’s third-term appointment on October 9. Beijing’s cutting of defense cooperation will increase the risk of flashpoints as Chinese jets and naval vessels threaten US military navigation in the Taiwan Strait.