China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday announced more military drills around Taiwan, a day after the scheduled end of the largest-ever exercises China has held near the island that was launched in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting Taipei.
The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command said Monday’s drills were focused on anti-submarine and sea assault operations. It’s not clear how long the new exercises will be held, but it’s a sign that Beijing will make some of its unprecedented military action in the area routine as a consequence of Pelosi’s trip.
During the drills that were held from Thursday to Sunday, China closed off six areas around Taiwan, simulating a blockade. Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications said Monday that airspace surrounding the island has been reopened, signaling China opened the areas it closed off.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on Monday reported that more PLA warplanes crossed the median line, which separates the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. China typically avoided crossing that line, but that has changed since Pelosi visited Taiwan. Every day since August 3, Taiwan has spotted PLA aircraft crossing the median line.
President Biden said Monday that he was “concerned” with China’s military activity near Taiwan but said he doesn’t think the situation will escalate further. “I’m not worried, but I’m concerned they’re moving as much as they are. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more than they are,” he said.
Tensions could still rise in the region as the US is planning to send ships and planes through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks. The US typically sails a Navy destroyer through the sensitive waterway about once a month, but it’s possible in the wake of Pelosi’s visit and the Chinese drills that Washington could be looking to send more ships. China also cut off military talks with the US in response to Pelosi’s trip, raising the chances of an accident between the two militaries.