China announced that new live-fire ammunition drills would take place in multiple areas around Taiwan while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the island.
The deployment puts the U.S. Navy on a possible collision course with the People’s Liberation Army, which announced live-fire exercises in the waters surrounding Taiwan in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit. The new exercises will be “rehearsals for the PLA to reunify the island by force,” experts speaking with the Global Times, a Chinese state-affiliated outlet, said.
The exercises will likely see the PLA fire long-range missiles over the island of Taiwan itself, an unprecedented move, into the waters east of Taiwan where the U.S. naval squadron is deployed, per the report.
A notice released by the Xinhua News Agency designated six different areas in the waters surrounding Taiwan as being areas where the PLA will perform live-fire ammunition drills, prohibiting any vessels or aircraft from entering the zones “for safety reasons.” It remains to be seen whether the U.S. naval squadron is deployed in the area specified or if they will change course to avoid the area.
The USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group has been reported to be near Taiwan in what the U.S. Navy described as “routine deployments”. The “USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group are underway, operating in the South China Sea following a successful port visit to Singapore,” said Cmdr. Hayley Sims, a spokesperson for the Japan based US 7th Fleet. “I will add that Reagan is continuing normal, scheduled operations as part of her routine patrol in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”