In its retaliating move against US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the Chinese government on Thursday launched one of its largest military drills around the self-ruled democratic island. This comes two days after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan which angered the Chinese administration. Meanwhile, Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Advisor, decried China’s military exercises in response to Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan as “irresponsible” and also warned of the possibility of an uncontrollable scenario developing in the region. He further stated that the White House will continue to protect its interests in the Western Pacific despite obstacles.

According to Sullivan, the US is hopeful that China would act responsibly and refrain from escalating the situation in a way that could result in an accident or miscalculation in the air or on the seas. “Whenever a military engages in a series of activities that include the possibility of missile tests, of live fire exercises, of fighter jets buzzing around the skies and ships moving around on the seas, the possibility of some kind of incident is real. And we believe that what China is doing here is not responsible and that it is escalating tensions unnecessarily,” he told National Public Radio (NPR).

Pelosi’s visit to self-ruled Taiwan ‘not a threat’ to China: Sullivan

The US’ NSA further stated that Pelosi’s visit to self-ruled Taiwan is not unprecedented and it is not at all threatening to China. Sullivan went on to say that members of Congress often travel to Taiwan and that a US House Speaker also visited the East Asian country back in 1997. “So what we don’t want to see is China trying to twist this into a crisis or use this as a pretext to take the kind of military activity that will ultimately destabilize the Taiwan Strait,” he added.

China conducts military drills in six zones encircling Taiwan

Earlier on Thursday, China announced that military drills were being conducted in six zones encircling Taiwan by its navy, air force, and other agencies. In addition to its efforts to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, China has long threatened military action in response to the island nation’s efforts to strengthen its de facto independence with the backing of key allies like the US. Notably, Taiwan has countered Chinese aggression by strengthening strategic ties with democracies, particularly the United States, which China frequently opposes. Meanwhile, the US has pledged to continue supporting Taiwan despite the threat posed by President Xi Jinping-led Chinese administration.

Image: AP