When it comes to China the British press is starting to act a little… like the press
CHINESE tanks and other military equipment have been spotted moving into Fujian Province, just across the strait from Taiwan, sparking fears of war.
The move is likely in response to top US Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island – she is confirmed to have landed there at 10.45pm local time. Beijing is furious at the move, which it sees as a provocation.
In a video released by the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command, Chinese soldiers vowed to “fight to the death” in any eventual conflict, according to the Chinese newspaper The Global Times. The newspaper is largely seen as a mouthpiece for the government in Beijing.
In the video, a soldier said: “We are fully prepared for any eventuality. Fight upon order, bury every intruder, and move toward joint and successful operations! We are PLA soldiers, we swear to defend the motherland to the death.”
The Communist Party in China sees Taiwan as a rouge breakaway province while the West and Taiwan itself considers it a separate country. Chinese Leader Xi Jinping has made the reunification of China and Taiwan one of his central policy goals.
Tensions are reaching a breaking point as US Speaker of the House, arguably the top Democrat besides Joe Biden, and fierce China hawk Ms Pelosi visits the island.
Chinese tanks were seen on the beaches and in the cities across the strait from Taiwan.
Chinese tanks could be seen on the beach, startling tourists.
Videos posted to the Chinese social media site Weibo, show tanks, trucks and other military equipment being moved into the province. In some videos, tanks can be seen driving down crowded beaches in Fujian Province.
If China were to launch a D-Day-style invasion into Taiwan, Fujian would be the likely staging point due to its position just across the Taiwan strait.
Additionally, two Chinese warships – a frigate and a destroyer – were seen relatively close to the island while Chinese warplanes have been buzzing overhead.
China is also said to be deploying its aircraft carriers to match US deployments there – the USS Ronald Regan and its strike group are operating in the area.
Both of China’s carriers are said to now be at sea and China had previously hinted that aircraft could attempt to intercept Ms Pelosi’s plane.
The Chinese-Government-linked newspaper The Global Times claimed that analysts have said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could ” send warplanes and warships to escort, intercept and drive away Pelosi’s flight if it indeed attempts to land on the island of Taiwan”.
The move is likely in response to Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.
The vehicles were seen in the streets and on trains.
Now that the US Speaker of the House has landed, tensions will likely only continue to rise.
Any interaction between a top US politician and Chinese military assets would be inherently dangerous.
Beijing sees any diplomatic contact between Washington and Taipei as US endorsement of Taiwan’s independence. China has been increasingly hostile in its rhetoric ahead of the trip.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereign security interests,” foreign ministry spokeswoman said at a press briefing in Beijing.”
If China were to attack Taiwan, it is unclear how the West would respond. For decades, the United States has pursued a strategy called “strategic ambiguity”.
This policy sees the US quietly support Taiwan, hinting that it would come to its defence, however officially the US has no obligation to defend the island.
Last May, however, when US President Joe Biden was asked whether the US would defend the island he said: “Yes…That’s the commitment we made.”
Nancy Pelosi landed in Taipei late on Tuesday.
Nancy Pelosi with Taiwanese officials.
This comment, seemingly breaking with decades of policy, was quickly explained away by aides. However, Taiwan is also strategically important to the United States and the West.
Taiwan produces valuable semiconductors vital for electronic technology and notably, US military technology.
Taiwan is far from defenceless and has been holding war games ahead of Ms Pelosi’s trip to Asia. It has modern weaponry provided by the West and amphibious D-Day-style invasions are notoriously difficult for the attacker.
However, China is a military behemoth and would likely be able to overwhelm the smaller country.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the likelihood of China using military force to reunite with Taiwan no longer seems like an abstract concept.
A larger nation invading its smaller neighbour while claiming it is not an independent country is no longer unheard of in the 21-century.