Hanoi [Vietnam]: Vietnamese carriers have been asked to avoid flying in areas near Taiwan for a few days as China conducts military exercises amid tension with the US over White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Dinh Viet Thang, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, as quoted by local media, said that they received an official notice from Chinese authorities asking airlines operating in Asia to avoid flying near the island of Taiwan from 11 am Thursday until Friday. Accordingly, CAAV has informed Vietnamese airlines to adjust their flight routes.
“Airlines can still operate flights to Taiwan normally and can decide on their own to postpone or cancel flights if necessary,” Thang said, Vn Express reported.
Pelosi’s visit, which is also the highest level of US visits in more than two decades, left China heavily infuriated and the communist nation warned the US that it will “pay the price”
Pelosi’s trip has heightened US-China tensions more than visits by other members of Congress because of her high-level position as leader of the House of Representatives. She is the first speaker of the house to come to Taiwan in 25 years since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
The Chinese military had announced holding live-fire naval exercises in the Taiwan Strait after Pelosi’s visit which is mainly seen to build security and economic momentum for the Indo-Pacific and is also seen as a move by the US to build pressure on China over its claim on Taiwan, responding to which the Pentagon also sent an aircraft carrier to the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying yesterday said that the kind of democracy referred to by Pelosi is “like nothing but a robe with lice crawling all over it which may look opulent from a distance, but could not stand close scrutiny.”
“We see the empty pledge and so-called strength of this type of democracy from what the US military has done in Iraq and Syria and from its retreat from Kabul,” she said further.
China sent 27 aircraft to Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), the island’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday hours after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taipei.
China which claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments, announced multiple military exercises around the island, issued a series of harsh statements and even summoned the US ambassador to Beijing, Nicholas Burns, to protest against Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Moreover, China has decided to avoid meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Cambodia.
China’s customs department announced a suspension of imports of citrus fruits, chilled white striped hairtail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan, while its commerce ministry banned the export of natural sand to Taiwan.
Meanwhile in Washington, US national security spokesperson John Kirby said there was “no reason for this visit to become a spurring event for a crisis or conflict”.
“China appears to be positioning itself to potentially take further steps in the coming days and perhaps over longer time horizons,” Kirby told reporters Tuesday.
He had warned provocations could include firing missiles in the Taiwan Strait or around Taiwan and large-scale breaches of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone by warplanes. He said that China might also make public assertions similar to those it made recently to the effect that the Taiwan Strait is not an international waterway.