China's 'live fire' drills shadow Pelosi in Taiwan

STORY: China demonstrated its outrage over the visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a burst of military activity in surrounding waters.

As Pelosi wrapped up the highest-level U.S. visit to the island in 25 years on Wednesday (August 3), a senior defense official described the live-fire military exercises as an effective blockade.

These images were broadcast on China's state-run TV.

Taiwan's defense ministry says some of the air and naval exercises that are taking place within the 12-nautical-mile area that Taiwan considers its territory, an unprecedented move.

China's foreign ministry says it doesn't see the drills causing freedom of navigation issues.

This was Speaker Pelosi with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen:

PELOSI: "Today, the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy. America's determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad.”

TSAI: "This year, Russia invaded Ukraine, and then the security of the Taiwan Strait became another focal point for the rest of the world. The moment that democratic Taiwan is invaded will be a major assault on the security of the entire Indo-Pacific region.”

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring it under its control.

The United States have warned China against using the visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.

Wen-ti Sung is a political scientist with the Australian National University. He says the ongoing conflict in Ukraine caused concerns among some Taiwanese over their security.

"Since the onset of the Ukraine-Russia war, if you look at opinion polls, there is roughly a ten to fifteen decrease - in terms of Taiwanese who worry or lose faith that the US will not be coming to Taiwan’s assistance military, if a war breaks out in Taiwan with China. And that’s because they think that the US did not intervene directly militarily in Ukraine, and maybe it could be a situation of Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow."

Pelosi also met with pro-democracy activists in Taiwan, including one who fled Hong Kong in 2019, and this man -- Wu'er Kaixi -- one of the original student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest.

Beijing has said that Pelosi's visit seriously damages peace and stability in the region.