China’s temper tantrum over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to Taiwan included launching 11 ballistic missiles on Thursday during “live-fire military exercises” meant to simulate a blockade of the island.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) monitored the 11 launches with “various means” and active defense systems on standby. The MoD said the Chinese Dongfeng DF-15 short-range ballistic missiles landed in the water northeast and southwest of Taiwan.
“We condemn such irrational action that has jeopardized regional peace,” the MoD said in a statement on Thursday, derisively comparing China’s behavior to North Korea by “willfully test-firing missiles into waters near other countries.”
The MoD said some of the Chinese missiles were launched from near the Matsu Islands, which mark the northernmost edge of Taiwanese territory. The Matsu chain is a vital element of Taiwan’s defense and would play a major role in any future conflict between Taiwan and Communist China.
China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), issued a self-congratulatory statement that announced “long-range armed live fire precision missile strikes were carried out on selected targets in the eastern area of the Taiwan Strait.”
Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport announced at least 40 flight cancellations on Thursday, stipulating that not all of the cancellations were due to China’s tantrum drills.
Taiwanese officials have not announced details of disruptions to shipping from the drills, but Natixis CIB economist Alicia Garcia Herrero told the Associated Press (AP) that Taiwanese companies are “starting to think of solutions, re-routing,” and “delaying orders” on the assumption that China will disrupt travel and shipping for much longer than the scheduled end of the live-fire drills.
“I think people are realizing this is not just a four-day thing,” Herrero said.
Chinese state media continued to be utterly obsessed with Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a day after she departed from the island.
The state-run Global Times bizarrely congratulated the PLA for its “rational and responsible attitude” because it gave civilian ships a few hours to clear the area before it started lobbing missiles around Taiwan.
The Global Times quoted spittle-flecked tirades from top Chinese officials:
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday made clear that Pelosi’s visit will not change the historical trend that Taiwan will return to the embrace of the motherland. Wang, who is attending meetings on East Asian cooperation on a visit to Cambodia, told reporters that Pelosi’s tour is a complete farce.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a routine press conference the same day that some US officials like Pelosi want to collude with secessionist forces and use the island to contain China and infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is like a mantis trying to stop a chariot, which will not prevent but accelerate China’s reunification process.
The reunification process is indeed accelerating, Zhang said, noting the unprecedented high level of actual combat, strategy and influence of the upcoming joint exercises.
Another Global Times piece on Wednesday described Chinese social media as “engulfed with heated discussion and anger” over Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, with half of the trending topics on the Weibo microblogging service dedicated to the issue. Weibo, the heavily-censored platform ordinary Chinese are forced to use instead of Twitter, supposedly crashed for half an hour because of all the fiery traffic.
“Netizens blasted the U.S.’s blatant provocation over the Taiwan question and said that the hypocritical face of the country was once again revealed to the world,” the Global Times cried.
“Pelosi has been faking it since July and even made a detour just a few hours before she actually landed in Taipei. What she did exactly showed what some U.S. politicians are: hypocritical, sneaky and nasty,” wrote one Weibo user.
Although “many netizens” supposedly urged the PLA to use deadly force against Pelosi’s plane, the Weibo posts quoted by the Global Times mostly seemed relieved that hostilities did not break out.
“Chinese people’s synchronous anger at Pelosi’s visit and Taiwan secessionists’ provocation demonstrated the overwhelmingly willpower [sic] of the 1.4 billion Chinese people for the reunification of the motherland,” the Global Times asserted – as if micromanaged social media platforms prowled by a million censors terrified that someone might post a photo of Winnie-the-Pooh could ever be taken as a sincere gauge of heartfelt public opinion.