Will China invade Taiwan? Tensions explained, China warning to USA and why Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan

China begins military drills in six zones surrounding Taiwan

China has begun a series of military drills in areas close to Taiwan as tensions rise between the country and China.

It comes after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan this week.

The US politican had been warned by China not to visit the country, with the two countries facing esclating tensions.

It comes after earlier this year, US President Joe Biden gave Taiwan security assurances if China invaded the country.

During a press conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Mr Biden said that the US would provide military intervention if China moved troops into Taiwan.

His comments was met with a mixed reaction, with the White House itself back tracking on these comments.

But what is the situation between Taiwan and China, where is the island located and what was the reaction to Ms Pelosi’s visit?

Here’s everything you need to know about the situation.

The US’s Air Force One, carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has touched down in Taiwan. (Credit: Getty Images)

What military drills are China carrying out?

China has said military exercises by its navy, air force and other departments are under way in six zones surrounding Taiwan.

The drills were prompted by a visit to the island by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi this week and are intended to advertise China’s threat to attack the self-governing island republic in response to moves to solidify its de facto independence from Chinese rule with support from key ally the US.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the exercises were joint operations focused on “blockade, sea target assault, strike on ground targets, and airspace control”.

Taiwan has put its military on alert and staged civil defence drills, while the US has numerous naval assets in the area.

The drills are due to run from Thursday to Sunday and include missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island in an echo of the last major Chinese military drills aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters held in 1995 and 1996.

The exercises involved troops from the Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force and Logistic Support Force under the Eastern Theatre Command.

Why did Nancy Pelosi visit Taiwan?

Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has made her the highest-ranking American politician to visit the island in the past 25 years.

The US Speaker’s visit had been scheduled, with the Biden administration insisting to Beijing that it does not signal a change in policy on Taiwan.

Ms Pelosi had set off for Taiwan after visiting Malaysia to meet with leaders.

The visit to Taiwan has been met with strong warnings from China.

What has China said about Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?

Ahead of Ms Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan, a cyber attack was launched on the presidential office and the foreign ministry.

It comes as China said that the country’s military would “never sit idly by” if Ms Pelosi went ahead with the visit.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing: “The US and Taiwan have colluded to make provocations first, and China has only been compelled to act out of self-defence.”

Ms Hua added that China has been in constant communication with the US and had warned that any counter-measure taken by China would be “justified and necessary”.

Chinese fighter jets had been flown near to Taiwan as Ms Pelosi prepared to touch down on the island.

Where is Taiwan?

Taiwan is a country in East Asia located off around 100 miles off the south-eastern coast of the People’s Republic of China.

Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China.

There are more than 23 million people living in the country, with Taipei, the captial city, home to 2.5million people.

What is the history between Taiwan and China?

Tensions between Taiwan and China began in the Second World War while fighting continued on the mainland.

After the communists won the battle in 1949 and Mao Zedong took control, tthe defeated nationalist party fled to Taiwan.

Since then, there have been disputed between the two territories over whether Taiwan is a sovereign country.

Which countries recognise Taiwan as a sovereign country?

China has been clear to countries that they will not be able to have diplomatic relations with both China and Taiwan, and can only have relation with one.

Therefore, out of 193 UN member states, only 12 have recognised Taiwan’s sovereign state.

These are:

  • Belize
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Paraguay
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Tuvalu

The Vatican City also reconigses Taiwan as an independant state.

The United States recognised Taiwan as a sovereign state for 30 years after the Chinese Civil War, however this ended in 1979.

Despite no longer recnognising its sovereignty, the US has continued to have friendly relations with Taiwan.

Will China invade Taiwan?

Ever since the civil war in the 1940, Beijing has insisted that Taiwan be reunified with China, with it being a rebel region.

China has stated that any Taiwanese effort put into establishing the country as an independent state will be met with methods such as invasion.

Taiwan’s defence minister has been reported as saying that relations between the two territories are at a 40-year low.

Some experts believe that the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine may embolden China, a notable ally of Russia, to take similar actions.