China has expressed anger after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) touched down in the island nation of Taiwan earlier this week.
Pelosi made the trip despite warnings from the Biden administration and threats from Beijing that a visit to Taiwan, which China claims as its own, could fuel U.S.-China tensions.
Pelosi arrived in Taipei on Tuesday after kicking off her congressional delegation tour Monday in Singapore. Malaysia, South Korea and Japan are also on the itinerary.
The island, which calls itself the Republic of China, has been self-governed since 1949 — but the People’s Republic of China, the government in Beijing, considers it part of the mainland under its “One China” policy.
The U.S. has pursued a policy of strategic ambiguity toward Taiwan. It’s committed to aiding the island in defending itself against Beijing, but has also accepted the One China policy.
Chinese officials said Pelosi flouted warnings and ignored potential consequences after she became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since 1997.
Since then, China has made moves to express its unhappiness with the visit. Taiwan has also experienced cyberattacks from unknown actors coinciding the the Speaker’s trip.
Here are five things that occurred around Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan:
On Thursday, China began firing missiles throughout the waters of the Taiwan Strait and deploying planes and warships in the area.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is set to run live-fire military drills in the waters and skies around Taiwan for several days, effectively creating a blockade around the island.
Taiwan has condemned the drills as “military intimidation” that threatens the island’s sovereignty.
Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian said that Pelosi provoked the drills.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is on high alert and will take a series of targeted military operations in response to resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart the interference by external forces and the separatist schemes for ‘Taiwan independence,’” Wu said.
China also levied trade restrictions against Taiwan on Wednesday, banning key imports like citrus and fish and halting the export of sand, a crucial construction material.
The bans halted imports from as many as 100 Taiwanese companies, Bloomberg reported, impacting a $328.3 billion bilateral trade exchange.
The Chinese government claimed that they were responding to certain contaminants in the shipments, Al Jazeera reported.
The restrictions didn’t cover processor chips — of which Taiwan dominates production, producing half the world’s supply. The semiconductors are necessary for China to assemble and produce electronics like smartphones.
Two-way trade between the countries reportedly rose 26 percent last year. China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner.
Hours before Pelosi landed on the island, the Taiwanese president’s office was struck by cyberattacks, according to a statement from a spokesperson for President Tsai Ing-wen.
Tsai said her office experienced distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), a type of cyberattack meant to overwhelm systems.
DDoS attacks have recently been used by Ukrainians attempting to overload Russian systems as they stave off Moscow’s invasion in their country.
The websites of Taiwan’s foreign and defense ministries were also reportedly attacked, as well as the island’s largest airport.
It is unclear at this point if the attacks were carried out by China. However, they do coincide with Pelosi’s visit to the island.
Television screens in Taiwanese 7-Eleven convenience stores reportedly flashed “Warmonger Pelosi get out of Taiwan” in additional cyberattacks on private companies.
Reuters reported that a pair of Chinese drones flew twice through a restricted area over Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands on Thursday.
Taiwanese officials, who averted the drones by firing flares at the aircraft, said they expect the flyovers were an intelligence-gathering mission by the Chinese.
Taiwan consists of a main island and a number of smaller islands and islets, many of which border the East and South China Seas. Among those, the Kinmen Islands are particularly heavily fortified, located less than 10 miles east of the Chinese city of Xiamen.
Summons for U.S. ambassador
The U.S. ambassador in Beijing was summoned the night of Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan to appear before Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng.
According to a Wednesday release from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns was called for an “emergency meeting” to discuss “stern representations and strong protests” about Pelosi’s trip.
The release called the Speaker’s trip “a deliberate provocation and a playing with fire” that violated the One China policy. It also accused the U.S. of deleting phrases like “Taiwan is a part of China” from its State Department website and including Taiwan in its Indo-Pacific strategy.
“The move is extremely egregious in nature and will have extremely serious consequences. China will not sit idly by. The U.S. government must be held accountable. For quite some time, the United States has said one thing but done the opposite, constantly distorted, altered, obscured and hollowed out the one-China principle,” the release continued.
Xie reportedly told the U.S. ambassador that “the U.S. side must pay the price for its wrongdoings.”