After some confusion about whether she would carry through with her controversial visit, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday as part of a tour of Asia. Democrat Pelosi said that the U.S. would "not abandon" the island which is democratically governed but as a part of China stands at risk to have that right revoked. On Wednesday, Pelosi left Taipei for South Korea.
After Pelosi arrived on the island, Chinese war planes and ships carried out drills in the Taiwan Straight. 48 planes entered Taiwan's territorial waters, a buffer zone that is somewhat larger than the country's proper airspace. The number constituted another major spike in Chinese air incursions, the second largest in at least two years after an incident on Oct 4, when a record 56 Chinese warplanes entered the Taiwanese buffer zone. Since that date, Chinese incursions into Taiwanese airspace have not been as intense, but have become more persistent, as our chart with data from the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense shows.
All of this activity has heightened fears of a military clash with China, which considers Taiwan a rogue province. The tensions have had regional and international observers on their toes, with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia refocusing attention on similar potential scenarios around the globe.