Donald Trump says what was Nancy Pelosi 'doing in Taiwan'
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In a parliamentary hearing session on July 27, Admiral Pierre Vandier, head of the French Navy, warned the Chinese Navy will be “2.5 times greater than the US Navy”, but was confident a coalition of forces could beat it.
He said: “Against the Chinese navy, we will win if we fight together, in a coalition.
“I have spent the last two years explaining everywhere that we are witnessing a movement of naval rearmament unprecedented since the Second World War.
“In 2030, the tonnage of the Chinese navy will be 2.5 times greater than that of the American navy which, despite its efforts, will remain stable or even continue to shrink, while the Chinese fleet will be growing geometrically.”
The comments sparked the concern of former French Ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, who said he was not sure if the Navy chief’s comments would be received positively among politicians around the world.
He said: “It is not up to the [chief of the navy] to designate the potential enemy.”
The Admiral’s spokesperson was forced to tone down his comments.
They told Politico: “We have never said that France is at war with China.
“‘Against the Chinese navy’ means that we want to show by our presence that we want to navigate freely there.
“If, at some point, we have to enter into a cycle of competition, contestation and even confrontation, we must have a very free navy and for that we train with other coastal nations.”
China’s military said on Wednesday that it had “completed various tasks” around Taiwan but will conduct regular patrols potentially signalling an end to days of war games but also that Beijing will keep up its pressure on the island.
Furious at a visit to Taipei last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China had extended its largest-ever exercises around the self-ruled island it claims as its own beyond the four days originally scheduled.
Last week’s drills included launches of ballistic missiles, some of which flew over the island’s capital of Taipei, and simulated sea and air attacks in surrounding skies and waters.
In a brief statement, the Eastern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army said its joint military operations around Taiwan had “successfully completed various tasks and effectively tested the integrated combat capabilities of the troops”.
It added: “Theatre forces will keep an eye on the changes in the situation in the Taiwan Strait, continue to carry out training and preparation for combat, organise regular combat readiness patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Taiwan Defence Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said in response to China’s statement that under the premise of not relaxing combat readiness, Taipei would “fully adjust the allocation of forces based on factors such as the enemy threat”.
Ms Pelosi told a news conference in Washington that the United States could not allow China to normalise a new level of pressure on Taiwan.
“What we saw with China is that they were trying to establish sort of a new normal. And we just can’t let that happen,” she said when asked if she expected China to use her visit to justify more drills.
The Biden administration has said the US military would in the coming weeks continue to carry out routine passages through the Taiwan Strait, which the US government says is an international waterway.
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Earlier on Wednesday, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters that Chinese navy ships were active off both the east and west coasts of Taiwan.
As of the afternoon, the Chinese navy continued activities near the median line, an unofficial buffer in the Taiwan Strait, and Chinese fighter jets also continued to fly close to the line, the source said.
Taiwan has dispatched airplanes and ships to the area to monitor the situation, the source said.
Video from state broadcaster CCTV on Wednesday showed Chinese fighter jets scrambling and refuelling in mid-air, as well as navy ships on what it said were drills around Taiwan.
China’s military said the drills were focused on blockades and resupply logistics, “under a complex electromagnetic environment to refine joint containment and control capabilities”, according to CCTV.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said 17 Chinese fighter jets crossed the median line on Wednesday.
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