China announces six live fire drills surrounding Taiwan amid US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tour

China announced that it will hold military exercises that include live-fire drills in six zones surrounding Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan.

At 10:43pm on Wednesday evening Pelosi and her congressional delegation arrived at Taipei Songshan Airport aboard a U.S. Air Force Boeing C-40C.

At 10:59 pm, Chinese state-run mouthpiece the Global Times released an announcement from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stating that it will hold “important military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills” in six areas around Taiwan proper from August 4 to August. 7.

The PLA has marked off vast swaths of waters off the coast of Taiwan, including areas to the northwest, north, northeast, east, southeast, and southeast of Taiwan. The zones to the north, northeast, and southwest of the country appear particularly close to territorial waters.

The Chinese military stated that “for safety reasons” unauthorized ships and aircraft are barred from entering these areas during the specified dates. In comparison with the live-fire zones during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis from 1995-1996, the areas designated this time appear to be closer to Taiwan.

In response, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) deplored the exercises as an attempt to “threaten our important ports and urban areas, and unilaterally undermine regional and stability.”

The ministry said that this move will sully China’s international image, and it expressed its solemn condemnation of the drills.

The MND emphasized that the Chinese Communist Party’s acts of “military intimidation” are obviously designed to instill fear in the minds of the Taiwanese people.

The ministry stated that it is using joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to maintain full awareness of the dynamics both at land and sea in the Taiwan Strait and stressed that it has the “determination, ability, and confidence” to ensure national security.