Analysis: With Taiwan drills, Xi tries to salvage Pelosi crisis

Analysis: With Taiwan drills, Xi tries to salvage Pelosi crisis

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan August 5, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping may not have stopped Nancy Pelosi from visiting Taiwan, but he has ordered his military to rehearse a more aggressive move. island, security experts say.

Chinese military planners have long debated blockading Taiwan, but so far it is likely too provocative to pursue such a move, security experts say.

However, after the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Chinese military launched missiles over Taipei for the first time, flew drones over islands off the coast of Taiwan, and used warships to cross the centerline of the Taiwan Strait and encircle autonomous islands. The military said it amounted to a “blockade” practice. His Li Mingjiang, Associate Professor at his S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies,

Singapore, said:
“This gives the Chinese military a new base to push more boundaries in future exercises,” he said.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s demonstration of capability and resolve is far more impressive than it was during the 1996 “third cross-strait crisis”, when it finally launched missiles near Taiwan.
Impose blockade The capability will serve as a lever for Beijing to draw Taiwan to the negotiating table during the conflict.

If Taiwan does not want to suffer mass death and destruction and accepts unification bloodlessly, then President Xi will win the biggest prize for his long-term goal of “rejuvenating the Chinese people.” .

The Taiwanese public, exhausted by decades of Beijing’s threat, appeared unperturbed, but some observers said military leaders may be concerned.

Michael Chang, who led Taiwan’s 1996 missile crisis when he was executive director of Taiwan’s National Security Council, told local media the drills could herald a Chinese invasion scenario.

The United States and allies such as Japan condemned the exercise. Not wanting to escalate the situation, they did not intervene directly to stop the lockdown experiments.

Former Chinese defense officials told Reuters their reaction would come as cold comfort to Taiwan’s politicians and military leaders.

“Given how the United States and its allies responded to the drill, how confident can Taiwan’s leaders be that the People’s Liberation Army will come to their aid if they attack?” he said. .
Exercise must end on Sunday.

TRICKY TIMING

The episode comes at a delicate time for Xi, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

Mao Zedong won his 1949 civil war, forcing the Kuomintang government to retreat to Taiwan and establishing the People’s Republic of China.

Pulling Taiwan into Beijing’s embrace is a significant unfinished business that cements Xi’s position alongside Mao Zedong and justifies his move to abolish term limits in 2018. Despite widespread dissatisfaction with the zero-COVID policy that has plunged 4,444 countries into his third year of self-isolation and has hit the world’s second-largest economy, Xi made a breakthrough at the top party convention. The Communist Party this year, who appears poised to secure his third five-year term.

Domestically, observers said the Chinese government is balancing the anger it has provoked over Mr Pelosi’s visit with embarrassment for not deterring him. 4,444 state media outlets covered the exercise with videos and commentary praising China’s advanced military capabilities.

Former Singapore diplomat Bilahari Kaushikan said part of the hype was an effort to save Mr. Xi’s face and he couldn’t afford to look weak ahead of the party convention. The indisputable fact is that despite all the ruckus, China could not deter Pelosi’s visit.

FAILURE NOT AN OPTION

China may be one step closer to using force against Taiwan, but most experts do not believe war is imminent. , his dream, and possibly the end of the Chinese Communist Party,” said former British diplomat Charles Parton.

Xi, who has not spoken publicly about Pelosi’s visit but is effectively the People’s Liberation Army’s commander-in-chief as chairman of the Central Military Commission, will be aware of the risks of a crackdown, experts says.

Security analyst Li said, “China hopes that these exercises will somehow halt a disturbing trend in which the United States, Europe, and many other countries are becoming sympathetic to Taiwan. would have wanted “So far, we haven’t seen this effect yet.”

Reporting by Yew Lun Tian Editing by Tony Munroe and Gerry Doyle

Credit/Source : REUTERS

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