President Joe Biden on Monday reacted to China’s military announcing it is extending drills surrounding Taiwan. The four days of live fire exercises, which Taiwan sees as a direct threat and has described as effectively a “blockade”, were scheduled to end Sunday, but the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command announced Monday that it is “continuing joint training under real war conditions, focused on organizing joint anti-submarine warfare and naval strikes.”
In the fresh remarks, Biden said in what was a surprise to many that he’s “not worried” about Chinese aggression toward Taiwan at this moment. “I’m not worried, but I’m concerned that they’re moving as much as they are. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more,” Biden told a group of reporters before traveling to Kentucky.
That’s when a reporter directly asked whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip was a “mistake” given the ongoing Chinese military pressure put on Taiwan, and the deterioration of China-US talks, even the cancelation of military-to-military dialogue.
Biden responded simply with “That was her decision.”
Naturally the White House later had to clarify what seemed like the commander-in-chief greatly downplaying China’s threat against Taiwan, given also state media days ago declared this the start of a “rehearsal for re-unification”…
“They are provocative, irresponsible, and raise the risk of miscalculation, that’s what the president was referring to,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday, referring to China’s response.
“They are also at odd with our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan strait, which is what the world expects,” she added.
Biden last month cited the US military who said Pelosi’s trip was “not a good idea”. Subsequent reporting suggests the White House scrambled to mitigate the severing of US-China relations. However, Beijing has still said the Biden administration could have put a stop to the trip if it really wanted to.
🇺🇸🇨🇳🇹🇼Biden said that he does not expect any radical steps from Beijing regarding Taiwan and is not worried about this pic.twitter.com/BZNVF9Nc2k
— ТРУХА⚡️English (@TpyxaNews) August 8, 2022
A Taiwan defense ministry statement on Monday confirmed that PLA drills encircling the self-ruled island are ongoing, citing that 39 PLA aircraft were detected, many which breached the air defense identification zone, along with 13 Chinese warships in surrounding waters.
Taiwan’s military said it “monitored the situation and responded to these activities with aircraft in CAP, naval vessels, and land-based missile systems” in what remains a highly unpredictable and dangerous situation. At this point it’s unclear when China’s military plans to halt its drills. According to the latest out of the US administration meanwhile:
China is trying to “salami slice its way into a new status quo” over Taiwan after dispatching more than 250 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the past week: Pentagon
— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch) August 8, 2022
- US `WON’T TAKE THE BAIT’ ON CHINA’S TAIWAN PROVOCATION: KAHL
- CHINESE ACTIVITY NEAR TAIWAN HAS NOT HAD A PROFOUND IMPACT ON ISLAND’S ECONOMY – SENIOR PENTAGON OFFICIAL
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