Chinese Ambassador Summoned to White House After Missiles Fall Near Taiwan's Coasts
Xinhua via Getty
China's ambassador to the United States was summoned to the White House on Thursday after his country conducted military activities near Taiwan after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's defiant visit this week to the self-governing island that China considers its territory would have.
According to a Chinese state broadcaster, the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command has been conducting long-range live-arms drills and "precision strikes" on eastern parts of the Taiwan Strait, The Washington Post reported. Taiwan's defense ministry said the 11 missiles struck waters off the island's northeast and southwest coasts Thursday afternoon.
On Wednesday evening, Chinese naval vessels and planes also conducted drills in waters around Taiwan, crossing the halfway line known as the midline between the island and mainland China, Taiwan's defense ministry said, calling it a "highly provocative act," CNN reported.
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"Following China's overnight actions, we have called the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Qin Gang, to the White House to demarche him about the PRC's provocative actions," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, according to CNN and the Post in a statement. "We have condemned the PRC's military actions, which are irresponsible and contrary to our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
PLA Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
Xinhua via Getty
In asking the Chinese ambassador to use diplomatic channels to condemn the military actions, the White House told Qin that the US hopes to continue communication and reiterated that US policy towards China and Taiwan has not changed.
America's long-standing one-China policy recognizes Beijing as China's only legitimate government.
"We have also made it clear that the United States is prepared for whatever Beijing chooses," Kirby said in the statement. “We will not and do not want a crisis. At the same time, we will not be deterred from operating in accordance with international law in the seas and skies of the western Pacific, as we have been doing for decades - to support and defend Taiwan's free and open Indo-Pacific."
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Nancy Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday and met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen the next day as part of her defiant visit to the island.
China's strong objection to the House Speaker's trip, which made her the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in a quarter-century, came with warnings and sparked concerns in the US military as well as in President Joe Biden's White House.
"Our discussions with the Taiwanese leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and advancing our common interests, including promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region," Pelosi said in a statement issued after her arrival in Taipei was released. "America's solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important now than ever as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy."
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), left, poses for photos with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the President's office August 3, 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan. Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday as part of an Asia tour to reassure allies in the region as China made it clear her visit to Taiwan would be viewed in a negative light.
Pelosi continued the trip despite warnings from Chinese officials, including State Department spokesman Zhao Lijiang, who said last week: "If the US side insists on the visit and challenges China's red line, they will face firm countermeasures." must accept full responsibility for any serious consequences that may result."
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Ahead of his White House meeting, first reported by The Washington Post, Qin wrote about Pelosi's visit in an op-ed for the newspaper.
"Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the third-highest-ranking official in the US government. Traveling on a military plane, Pelosi paid a high-profile 'official visit' to Taiwan this week. as her office described in her arrival statement, and was treated with full protocol by the authorities of the Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party, who make no secret of their party's program of seeking independence. Such a visit is America's obligation, not official relations to develop openly broken Taiwan,” the Chinese ambassador wrote.
"These are extremely irresponsible, provocative and dangerous moves."
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
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