New Delhi: Amid US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan, as part of her Asia tour, China has launched a media blitzkrieg to showcase its military prowess.
The Eastern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Monday released a video on Chinese websites and social media platforms that shows the PLA carrying out several aggressive military exercises.
The Global Times, a state-owned news tabloid, said the video revealed “advanced weapons and hot-blooded scenes of its (PLA) training”.
The subtitles in the video (translated to English) urges troops to “stand by in battle formation, be ready to fight upon command, bury all incoming enemies”.
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) shifts gears in light of Pelosi's potential #Taiwan visit. #PelosiVisit
(Video via the Sina Weibo account of the PLA's Eastern Theater Command) pic.twitter.com/Cxw8VHzuyS
— Beijing Review (@BeijingReview) August 2, 2022
Soldiers in the video can also be heard saying “move toward joint and successful operations! We are PLA soldiers; we swear to defend the motherland to the death,” added the Global Times.
The Eastern Theatre Command also conducted mock air drills Sunday. The pilots were tasked with practicing how to enter combat status for unusual situations. The drills were done as Speaker Pelosi reached Singapore Sunday.
The Asia Times, meanwhile, reported that Sheh Jinke, the spokesperson of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, has declared the force would dispatch different fighters to fly around Taiwan and enhance their ability to protect China’s sovereignty.
Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, tweeted saying, “Based on what I know, in response to Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan, Beijing has formulated a series of countermeasures, including military actions.”
Based on what I know, in response to Pelosi's possible visit to Taiwan, Beijing has formulated a series of countermeasures, including military actions.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) August 2, 2022
Taiwan visit first for a US speaker since 1997
Speaker Pelosi’s visit would be the first by a US House speaker to Taiwan since 1997. Given that she is second-in-line to the post of President, this marks the most significant visit to the island state by the US in decades. Newt Gingrich was the last US speaker to visit Taiwan.
The visit is likely to mark a significant deterioration in US-China ties. Since establishing formal ties with China in 1979, US presidents have long avoided direct calls with their counterparts in Taiwan, let alone high-profile visits by senior US officials.