China announces military exercises near Taiwan as Pelosi's trip looms
China announced Saturday it would conduct military exercises off the coast opposite Taiwan amid rising concern that Beijing may invade the self-governing island sooner than expected, per the Associated Press.
Driving the news: The announcement comes as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is poised to visit Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week warned President Biden not to "play with fire" over the democratic island.
- The Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, conducted “live-fire exercises” off Pingtan Island, the Associated Press reports.
- It's unclear if the exercises include missiles, fighter planes or weapons, per AP.
The big picture: The Chinese government has consistently vowed to take control of Taiwan, potentially by force, Axios reports. The PLA has previously flown fighter planes and bombers outside of Taiwan.
- The tension over Pelosi's impending visit has stoked fears that Taiwan will become a military flashpoint in the near future.
State of play: Pelosi's delegation was slated to depart for Asia on Friday and planned to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, CNBC reports. A stop in Taiwan was seen as "tentative."
- Beijing threatened "serious consequences" if Pelosi visits the island, arguing that Taiwan does not have the right to conduct foreign relations, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Dave Lawler report.
- President Biden said publicly this month that the U.S. military thinks the potential trip is "not a good idea right now."