BEIJING (NewsNation) — The Chinese military has been put on high alert and will begin “targeted military operations” in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China’s defense ministry said Tuesday.
Separately, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said it will conduct joint military operations near Taiwan beginning Tuesday night.
The exercises will include joint air and sea drills in the north, southwest and southeast of Taiwan, long-range live firing in the Taiwan Strait, and missile test launches in the sea east of Taiwan, the Eastern Theatre Command said.
The defense ministry did not provide details about what the targeted military operations would include, or if they were separate from the exercises announced by Eastern Theatre Command.
State news agency Xinhua said earlier on Tuesday the Chinese military would conduct live-firing drills and other exercises around Taiwan from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday also issued an ominous threat following Pelosi’s landing in Taiwan.
“These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it,” the statement said in part. “China will definitely take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the U.S. Speaker’s visit. All the consequences arising therefrom must be borne by the U.S. side and the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
Pelosi tweeted upon arrival, “Our delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy. Our discussions with Taiwan leadership reaffirm our support for our partner and promote our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
Her Twitter thread went on to state that the visit is “one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan” and that it “in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy.”
Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a civil war that ended with a communist victory on the mainland. They have no official relations but are linked by billions of dollars of trade and investment. Both sides say they are one country but disagree over which government is entitled to national leadership.
Pelosi’s visit triggered increased tensions between China and the United States, as China claims Taiwan is part of its territory, to be annexed by force if necessary, and views visits by foreign government officials as recognition of the island’s sovereignty.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.