China holds live-fire naval artillery exercises in waters around Taiwan

Just days after a Chinese state-run media editor of the Global Times threatened that his country would not hesitate to shoot down the plane carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), should she choose to stop in Taiwan, China ramped up tensions even more over the weekend.

According to the Daily Mail, as Pelosi set off for several Asian countries, the Chinese military kicked off a round of live-fire naval exercises around the waters of Taiwan. According to experts, the exercise was nothing less than a show of force and an attempt to dissuade Pelosi from stopping in Taiwan, as she previously vowed to do. 

The Daily Mail noted: “The People’s Liberation Army was conducting ‘live-fire exercises’ near the Pingtan islands off Fujian province, the official Xinhua News Agency announced. The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the area.”

The exercises have greatly increased military tension in the area, as Taiwan government officials are now reportedly instructing residents where to take shelter in case of a Chinese invasion, which could come at any time.

The outlet added: “It is all seen as a show of force to dissuade Pelosi from visiting the island. As the leader of the co-equal legislative branch of the US government, Joe Biden has no authority to order her to abandon the visit.”

The previous threat regarding shooting down Pelosi’s plane came from Hu Xijin, the outspoken editor of the state-run Global Times.

“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down,” Xijin’s tweet read, sparking a firestorm of controversy.

It’s still unclear whether or not Pelosi plans to stop in Taiwan. President Joe Biden, nor anyone in the White House, condemned China’s threat of assassinating the U.S. House Speaker — the third most-powerful position in U.S. government.