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China announces military drill around Taiwan as US speaker visits island despite warning

Nancy Pelosi, US speaker, visits Taiwan Nancy Pelosi, US speaker, visits Taiwan

China has declared that it would conduct missile tests and military operations in areas around Taiwan.

The development comes shortly after Nancy Pelosi, United States house speaker, landed on the island on Tuesday despite a previous warning said to have been issued by China against the visit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had reportedly told US President Joe Biden before the visit that “whoever plays with fire will get burned”.

Although the island is an independent country, China considers Taiwan part of its territory and frowns against diplomatic visits to the island.

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Pelosi, who posed for pictures with Taiwanese officials on the tarmac, is reportedly the highest-ranking American politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

Pelosi, in a statement, said the US delegation is part of a “broader” trip to the Indo-Pacific — including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan — focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance. 

“Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan – and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, U.S.-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances.  The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo,” the statement reads.

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However, China, in a statement by Shi Yi, a spokesperson for the eastern theater command, condemned the visit and announced it would conduct series of joint military operations around Taiwan Island.

Yi also said there would be joint air and sea exercises in northern, south-western, and south-eastern Taiwan Islands, beginning from Tuesday evening.

“This action is a solemn deterrent against the recent major escalation of the negative actions of the United States on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to the Taiwan independence forces seeking independence,” the statement reads.

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