China's military on Wednesday announced the completion of what had after Sunday become extended drills surrounding Taiwan, which had initially begun with the controversial Nancy Pelosi visit. Days into the threatening drills last week, it became evident - as state media fully admitted - that the unprecedented maneuvers were a rehearsal for a forced "reunification operation".
The Eastern Theater Command of the PLA military issued a statement saying it has "completed various tasks" but will now conduct "regular patrols". The past full week of drills were especially alarming in that they involved ballistic missile fire over the island and the practical erasure of the median line in the Taiwan Strait due to a heavy warship and aircraft presence in the area.
The statement touted further the PLA "had effectively tested the integrated combat capabilities of the troops," and added, "Theater forces will keep an eye on the changes in the situation in the Taiwan Strait, continue to carry out training and preparation for combat, organize regular combat readiness patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity."
On Wednesday the foreign ministry again condemned the Pelosi visit as a "provocation to China" - demonstrating that the US has "gone astray in hollowing out the one-China principle". Spokesperson Wang Yi in explaining the fierceness of military drills and why the Pelosi trip provoked such a response, said it was necessary to demonstrate that "China won’t accept such rogue logic."
He further underscored the seriousness of the scenario where a "Number three political figure in the US, took a US military aircraft to make what she claimed to be an official visit to the island..."
On Tuesday Pelosi had again defended her visit when questioned about the trip, saying it was "absolutely" worth it.
"We cannot allow the Chinese government to isolate Taiwan," Pelosi told NBC. "They’re not going to say who can go to Taiwan."
"Absolutely, without any question," the top Democrat had emphasized when asked if the trip was worth it in wake of the severe backlash from Beijing and China's military.
"I have overwhelming bipartisan support for our visit to Taiwan, as Speaker of the House and with the distinguished delegation that I went there with. We were very well received. Thousands of people in the streets," she said.
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) member of @SFRCdems, says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan was worth it, despite the fallout.— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 8, 2022
"What President Xi decided to do was manufacture a crisis. ... This is saber rattling, and chest-thumping." pic.twitter.com/uXHIElUEqM
Other Congressional members of her delegation to Taipei had a similar assessment, with Sen. Van Hollen charging President Xi Jinping with manufacturing a crisis: "This is saber rattling, and chest-thumping" on the part of Chinese leadership, he said in a separate interview.