FOR ALL-SMILES PELOSI, LEGACY SATISFIED WITH ‘ORDER OF PROPITIOUS CLOUDS’ TUCKED UNDER HER BELT – FOR GANG TSAI ING-WEN & FAMILIES, CRIMINAL CHARGES & SHAME FOR GENERATIONS IN CHINA’S GALLERY OF TRAITORS AWAIT – WHILE FOR BEIJING, ‘ROUTINE BLOCKADES’ & PHYSICAL CONTROL OVER THE WHOLE OF TAIWAN ISLAND – ‘THE DRILLS SHOULD BE VIEWED AS A WAR PLAN REHEARSAL’ – FOR THE U.S., COME AGAIN IF YOU DARE!

Pelosi departs Taiwan after visit that fueled US-China rift

TAIPEI (AP): US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan after a visit that heightened tensions with China, saying that she and other members of Congress in her delegation showed they will not abandon their commitment to the self-governing island.

Pelosi, the first US speaker to visit the island in more than 25 years, courted Beijing’s wrath with the visit and set off more than a week of debate over whether it was a good idea after news of it leaked. In Taipei, she remained calm but defiant.

“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” she said in a short speech during a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday (Aug 3).

“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments, announced multiple military exercises around the island, parts of which will enter Taiwanese waters, and issued a series of harsh statements after the delegation touched down Tuesday night in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

Taiwan decried the planned actions, saying they violated the island’s sovereignty.

“Such an act equals to sealing off Taiwan by air and sea, such an act covers our country’s territory and territorial waters, and severely violates our country’s territorial sovereignty,” Capt Jian-chang Yu said at a briefing by the National Defense Ministry.

The Chinese military exercises, including live fire, are to start Thursday (Aug 4) and be the largest aimed at Taiwan since 1995, when China fired missiles in a large-scale exercise to show its displeasure at a visit by then-Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to the US.

Taiwanese President Tsai responded firmly on Wednesday to Beijing’s military intimidation.

“Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai said at her meeting with Pelosi.

“We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy.”

China’s official Xinhua News Agency announced the military actions Tuesday night, along with a map outlining six different areas around Taiwan.

Arthur Zhin-Sheng Wang, a defense studies expert at Taiwan’s Central Police University, said three of the areas infringe on Taiwanese waters, meaning they are within 22km of shore.

Using live fire in a country’s territorial airspace or waters is risky, said Wang, adding that “according to international rules of engagement, this can possibly be seen as an act of war.”

Pelosi’s trip has heightened US-China tensions more than visits by other members of Congress because of her high-level position as leader of the House of Representatives.

She is the first speaker of the House to visit Taiwan in 25 years, since Newt Gingrich in 1997. However, other members of Congress have visited Taiwan in the past year.

Tsai, thanking Pelosi for her decades of support for Taiwan, presented the speaker with a civilian honor, the Order of the Propitious Clouds.

China’s response has been loud and has come on multiple fronts: diplomatic, economic and military.

Shortly after Pelosi landed on Tuesday night, China announced live-fire drills that reportedly started that night, as well as the four-day exercises starting Thursday.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force also flew a contingent of 21 war planes Tuesday night, including fighter jets, toward Taiwan.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Xie Feng also summoned the US ambassador in Beijing, Nicholas Burns, to convey the country’s protests the same night.

On Wednesday, China also banned some imports from Taiwan, including citrus fruit and fish.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV published images of PLA drills and video Wednesday, although it was unclear where they were being conducted.

Pelosi addressed Beijing’s threats Wednesday morning, saying she hopes it’s clear that while China has prevented Taiwan from attending certain international meetings, “that they understand they will not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan as a show of friendship and of support.”

She noted that support for Taiwan is bipartisan in Congress and praised the island’s democracy.

She stopped short of saying that the US would defend Taiwan militarily, emphasising that Congress is “committed to the security of Taiwan, in order to have Taiwan be able to most effectively defend themselves.”

Her focus has always been the same, she said, going back to her 1991 visit to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, when she and other lawmakers unfurled a small banner supporting democracy two years after a bloody military crackdown on protesters at the square. That visit was also about human rights and what she called dangerous technology transfers to “rogue countries.”

Pelosi visited a human rights museum in Taipei that details the history of the island’s martial law era and met with some of Taiwan’s most prominent rights activists, including an exiled former Hong Kong bookseller who was detained by Chinese authorities, Lam Wing-kee.

Pelosi, who is leading the trip with five other members of Congress, also met with representatives from Taiwan’s legislature.

“Madam Speaker’s visit to Taiwan with the delegation, without fear, is the strongest defense of upholding human rights and consolidation of the values of democracy and freedom,” Tsai Chi-chang, vice-president of Taiwan’s legislature, said in welcome.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has sought to tone down the volume on the visit, insisting there’s no change in America’s longstanding “one-China policy,” which recognises Beijing but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

Pelosi said her delegation has “heft,” including Gregory Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Raja Krishnamoorthi from the House Intelligence Committee. Reps Andy Kim and Mark Takano are also in the delegation.

She also mentioned Rep Suzan DelBene, whom Pelosi said was instrumental in the passage of a US$280bil Bill aimed at boosting American manufacturing and research in semiconductor chips – an industry that Taiwan dominates and is vital for modern electronics.

She departed Wednesday evening for South Korea, the next stop on an Asia tour that also included Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. AP

PLA drills around Taiwan continue to ‘rehearse reunification operation’ amid Pelosi’s visit, ‘exercises blockading island to become routine’

Joint military exercises around the island of Taiwan by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continued Wednesday with a joint blockade, sea assault and land and air combat trainings, involving the use of advanced weapons including J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles after the drills started on Tuesday evening, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed on the island which seriously violates China’s sovereignty.
The exercises are unprecedented as the PLA conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time, the PLA forces will enter area within 12 nautical miles of the island and that the so-called median line will cease to exist, experts said, noting that by surrounding Taiwan entirely, the PLA are completely blockading the island demonstrating the Chinese mainland’s absolute control over the Taiwan question.

The PLA Eastern Theater Command on Wednesday organized its affiliated Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force and Joint Logistic Support Force and conducted realistic combat-oriented joint exercises in the sea and air space to the north, southwest and southeast of the island of Taiwan, the PLA Eastern Theater Command said in a press release on the day.

Joint blockade, sea assault, land attack and air combat drills were at the core of the operation, as the exercises tested the troops’ joint operational capabilities, said the press release.

The J-20 stealth fighter jet, H-6K bomber, J-11 fighter jet, Type 052D destroyer, Type 056A corvette and DF-11 short-range ballistic missile are among the weapons used in the drills, as shown in the photos attached to the press release.

Early warning aircraft and DF-17 hypersonic missiles also joined the exercises, according to a report by China Central Television.

Wednesday’s drills came after the PLA Eastern Theater Command started joint military operations around the island of Taiwan on Tuesday evening, involving joint maritime and air exercises in the sea and in the air space to the north, southwest and southeast of the island of Taiwan, long-range live-fire shooting in the Taiwan Straits, and conventional missile test launches to the east of the island of Taiwan.

The PLA will also conduct important military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills in six large maritime areas and their air space surrounding the island of Taiwan, in its north, northeast, east, south, southwest and northwest, from Thursday noon to Sunday noon, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday evening.

Unprecedented actions

This is the first time the PLA will launch live long-range artillery across the Taiwan Straits, in a move that will demonstrate the PLA’s firm will and strong capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and thwart secessionist attempts by “Taiwan independence” and external interfering forces, Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the Naval Research Academy of the PLA, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“If the conventional missiles of the PLA were to be launched from the mainland toward the west of Taiwan and hit targets to its east, this means that the missiles would fly over the island, which is unprecedented,” Chinese mainland military expert Zhang Xuefeng told the Global Times.

He also pointed out that five of the drill zones are set to the east of the so-called median line of the Taiwan Straits, and this means that the existence of the line is denied through the concrete action of the PLA.

Some drill zones are also for the first time set to include areas within 12 nautical miles to the island of Taiwan, but since Taiwan is a part of China, Taiwan’s so-called territorial sea is also China’s territorial sea, Zhang Xuefeng said.

Also, the PLA drills surrounding Taiwan are intended to show that it is capable of blockading the entire island and of resolving the Taiwan question through non-peaceful ways, if the situation becomes irretrievable, observers said.

From the designated PLA military drills area, the operations could pose a threat to major ports and shipping lanes in Taiwan, forming a complete blockage. This blockage style could be one of the action plans taken in the future for achieving the reunification by force, Herman Shuai, a retired Taiwan lieutenant general, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Two northern exercise areas designated by the PLA are located off the coast of Keelung Port and Taipei Port, the central exercise area is located off the Taichung Port, the southern exercise area is located off the Kaohsiung Port and the eastern one is located off the Hualien Port. The exercise areas are a “template” for “locking down Taiwan,” Shuai said. “If the PLA exercises take a long time, it will constitute a substantial blockage of Taiwan.”

The PLA’ s drills this time are “comprehensive and highly targeted,” showing the determination of resolving Taiwan question once and for all, Chinese mainland military expert Song Zhongping told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The drill should be viewed as a war plan rehearsal, Song said, “In the event of a future military conflict, it is likely that the operational plans currently being rehearsed will be directly translated into combat operations.”

“It means that our battle plan has been made clear to the US and the Taiwan authorities, and we are confident enough to inform them of the consequences of further provocation in this way,” Song said.

Comparing to the Taiwan Straits crisis in 1996, the PLA’s military strength has been greatly enhanced, analysts say.

“In 1996, we didn’t have aircraft carriers, the Type 055 large destroyer, nor hypersonic missiles… Since then our ability to strike, capture and kill has greatly improved and our military options and confidence have increased,” Song said.

Shuai believes that in 1996, Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities were relatively strong, the PLA’s projection capabilities were still insufficient, and the number of amphibious warfare ship was limited. Also the PLA’s Navy Marine Corps as well as Air Force did not have absolute advantages.

Therefore, at that time, the PLA did not have the capability of completely blocking the island. It only used the method of test-launching missiles to send warnings, but it did not pose any threat to the open seas of Taitung and Hualien, not to mention to US aircraft carriers, Shuai said. “But it is different now. After so many years of rapid development, the PLA, whether it is with the Type 055 large destroyer, aircraft carriers or amphibious landing ship, now fully possesses the strength to blockade the Taiwan Island.”

As Pelosi’s flight was about to land, Chinese state media reported that a Su-35 fighter jet(s) of the PLA Air Force was flying across the Taiwan Straits, but Taiwan’s defense authority later claimed this is fake news.

It only exposed Taiwan’s weak air defense which failed to detect the PLA aircraft, observers commented.

Not intercepting Pelosi’s flight does not mean a failure of the PLA. On the contrary, the Chinese mainland chose to avoid an incident that could trigger a World War III but instead to take Pelosi’s Taiwan visit as a chance to push forward the progress of reunification, starting with the island-blockading, combat-rehearsing drills that could become routine, analysts said.

Mainland authorities announced on Wednesday that a number of diehard “Taiwan secessionists”, two funds and multiple companies related to secessionist activities will be punished in accordance with the law.

Zhang Hua, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the law on punishing Taiwan secessionists is complete and in place in the mainland.

Taiwan secessionists can be judged according to Criminal Law for splitting the country, destroying the reunification of the motherland and endangering national security, the expert said.

Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that after the reunification, the Chinese mainland can collect evidence against Taiwan secessionists in accordance with criminal law, set up special courts to try them in absentia, and nail all those at large wherever they are.

In addition, the scope of sanctions can be extended to the family members of Taiwan secessionists, which means they’ll be banned from business exchanges with the mainland and the institutions they work for should also be included in the sanctions list, Zhang said.

Mainland experts said that it cannot be ruled out that more regulations against Taiwan secessionists will be adopted in the future. Considering that the Anti-Secession Law is more of a framework and principle law, the central government could formulate a specific law targeting Taiwan secessionists, similar to the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. GLOBAL TIMES

China punishes diehard ‘Taiwan secessionists,’ foundations and companies in accordance with law

Chinese authorities announced Wednesday that a number of diehard “Taiwan secessionist” individuals, two funds, and multiple companies related to secessionist activities will be punished in accordance with the law, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan island Tuesday night in disregard of stern warnings from China, a visit that has sent a wrong message to “Taiwan independence” forces and has escalated the tension across the Taiwan Straits.

“We warn Tsai Ing-wen and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities that they only accelerate their demise and push Taiwan into the abyss of disaster by pursuing ‘independence’ with provocative acts and linking up with external forces,” said Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, on Wednesday.

The authorities will take punitive measures against the “Taiwan Foundation for Democracy” (TFD) and the “International Cooperation and Development Fund” (ICDF), two organizations that have close ties with diehard secessionists, said Ma.

They will be prohibited from cooperating with mainland organizations, enterprises and individuals. Organizations, enterprises and individuals providing financial support or services for them will also be punished.

According to public information, TFD is chaired by You Si-kun, head of Taiwan’s legislative body from the DPP, while the ICDF was chaired by Joseph Wu, leader of the external affairs authority of Taiwan island. Both You and Wu are on the mainland’s list of diehard Taiwan secessionists, along with Soo Tsing-tshiong, leader of Taiwan’s “executive authority.”

Enterprises that have donated to the two funds, such as Speedtech Energy, Hyweb Technology, Skyla Corporation, Skyeyes GPS Technology, are to be prohibited from conducting any transactions or cooperation with mainland organizations, enterprises and individuals. The persons responsible for these enterprises are banned from entering the Chinese mainland.

The two funds, in the guise of “democracy” and “cooperation and development,” have engaged in “Taiwan secessionist” activities around the world, attempting to relying on external anti-China forces, use money as bait to expand the so-called “international space” of Taiwan, and undermine the one-China framework of the international community, said Ma.

A small number of diehard Taiwan secessionists who are engaged in secessionist activities and serve as pawns of external anti-China forces will be punished for their crimes and will be held accountable, said the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Wednesday.

The “Taiwan secessionists” are the biggest obstacle to China’s reunification. Their words and deeds blatantly challenge China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the rule of law of the country, said a spokesperson for the office.

Those “two-faced” businessmen make money from the mainland via favorable policies while acting as benefactors of “Taiwan secessionists” in the island, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. He noted that the punitive measures over these involved institutions and enterprises are a “continuation of previous policies.”

Zhang Hua, a research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the law on punishing secessionists is complete and ready in the mainland.

“Taiwan secessionists” can be judged according to the Criminal Law for splitting the country, destroying the reunification, and endangering national security, the expert said.

Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that after reunification, the Chinese mainland can collect evidence against “Taiwan secessionists” in accordance with the Criminal Law, set up special courts to try them in absentia, and start a global manhunt and arrest operation.

In addition, the scope of sanctions can be extended to the family members of “Taiwan secessionists,” which means they’ll be banned from business exchanges with the mainland and the institutions they work for should also be punished, Zhang said.

Mainland experts said that it cannot be ruled out that more regulations against secessionists will be adopted in the future. Considering that the Anti-Secession Law is more of a framework and principle law, the mainland could formulate a specific law targeting Taiwan secessionists, similar with the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

China also imposed economic punishment on Taiwan secessionists. Customs of the Chinese mainland suspended imports of citrus fruits and some frozen fish from the island. Chinese Commerce Ministry announced the export of natural sand to Taiwan will be suspended from Wednesday. GLOBAL TIMES

AP / GLOBAL TIMES

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