Days after Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taiwan, Beijing, which claims authority over it, deployed fighter jets, warships and even fired live missiles in its biggest military drill in the Taiwan Strait.
According to reports by Reuters, Taiwan has said that 22 Chinese fighter jets have crossed median line whereas Japan has claimed that five missiles have landed in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ)
While sanctioning Pelosi, China's foreign ministry said that she had interfered in their internal affairs and had undermined their sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, they did not spell out the implications of the sanctions.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said in a statement, “The Ministry of National Defence stresses that it will uphold the principle of preparing for war without seeking war, and with an attitude of not escalating conflict and causing disputes”.
If there's a threat to the integrity of Taiwan, they will be willing to contest a ‘muscle-flexing’ China, believes Ashok Sajjanhar, a former diplomat.
According to him, Beijing wants to send a message to domestic, as well as international, constituencies but any attempt of imposing economic sanction will hurt both sides.
On the other hand, the US has summoned the Chinese ambassador to the White House to condemn the military exercises, reported The Washington Post.
Also read: China sanctions Nancy Pelosi for her visit to Taiwan; Japan calls Chinese missiles 'serious problem'
Satoru Nagao, a fellow (non-resident) at Hudson Institute said that this visit was the result of miscalibration by China and the US. He believes that Taiwan will get more support from the US and furthermore, there are high chances of a Japan-US-Taiwan collaboration in this case.
The act of sending missiles into a nation’s EEZ indicates that Beijing doesn’t care about its neighbours, noted Jabin Jacob, Associate Professor at Shiv Nadar University. While emphasising the Chinese approach of denying agency to nations like Taiwan, India, he added that the approach to China should be changed accordingly and the value of negotiations should be seen in zero-sum terms.
With the fog of war rolling in, journalist James Dorsey ruled out a possibility of military conflict between US and China but says that economic sanctions are a possibility. “Neither the US nor China wants a military confrontation. Certainly not at this point”, said Jorsey. This all happening against the backdrop of far sharper and harder big power rivalry and hardening of attitude towards each other not only by officials but also by the public, he said.