China Military Drills Updates: FBI Calls China the Greatest Future Threat to U.S.

Live Updates
  • Chinese forces officially began four days of military exercises around Taiwan on Thursday afternoon local time, a response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to the self-ruled island this week.
  • China's People's Liberation Army warned last week that it wouldn't "sit back" if Pelosi travelled to Taiwan.
  • Taiwan's Defense Ministry confirmed the detection of Chinese long-range missiles fired at around 1:56 p.m. local time (1:56 a.m. ET).
  • White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby urged China "not to overact," calling Beijing the "provocateur" in this situation.
  • Taiwan said it will not escalate the conflict but has directed its armed forces to heighten their readiness.
  • Chinese officials blasted G7 foreign ministers who sent a joint statement condemning Chinese action in the Taiwan Strait, saying the alliance "personifies aggression and coercion."

The live updates for this blog have ended.

China Military Drills
In this combination image, Left inset, Chinese military helicopters fly past Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022, right inset, handout image released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan and South Korea's Marado amphibious landing ship take part in a joint naval exercise on June 04, 2022 at an undisclosed location and main image, Smoke trails from projectiles launched by the Chinese military are seen as tourists look on from Pingtan island,August 04, 2022. Getty

FBI Calls China the Greatest Future Threat to U.S.

The FBI director said China is the most significant foreign threat the United States faces in the next decade.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on the "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," FBI Director Wray was asked who was the "most significant geopolitical foe the United States faces in the next decade."

"That would be the People's Republic of China," Wray answered. "Specifically the Chinese Communist Party."

In his opening remarks, Wray said the Bureau continues to combat cyber threats from China, North Korea and Russia.

"We have seen the People's Republic of China (PRC) working to obtain controlled dual-use technology and developing an arsenal of advanced cyber capabilities that could be used against other countries in the event of a real-world conflict," he said.

Pentagon Delays Missile Test Launch

The Pentagon has postponed a missile launch test amid growing tensions with China over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan.

At the daily White House press briefing, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the "long-planned" Minuteman III missile test scheduled for this week will be rescheduled for the "near future."

As China engages in destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, Kirby said the U.S. is "demonstrating the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculation and misperception."

"China has chosen to overreact and use the Speaker's visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait," he said. "We also expect that these actions will continue."

He said tensions are "pretty escalated" and "the temperature is pretty high" in the region.

Kirby added that rescheduling the test launch will not undermine U.S. nuclear readiness.

"A strong, competent, capable nuclear-power can afford to wait a couple of weeks for a test," he added. "It's the responsible thing to do. It's the strong, confident thing to do. And the President stands behind it."

John Kirby Briefing
John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, August 4, 2022. SAUL LOEB //AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Tells China 'Not to Overreact'

The White House is urging China "not to overreact" following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan this week.

"We're watching this closely, we continue to urge the Chinese not to overreact here," White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told MSNBC. "There's no reason to react the way that they have or to escalate the tensions."

Kirby said there is risk of mistake and miscalculation when conducting these types of military exercises that "could actually lead to some sort of conflict."

He urged China to "bring down the tensions, just like we are doing."

"We're not saber rattling," Kirby said. "Bring down the tensions and work through this so that there's no change in the status quo of a unilateral or forceful nature."

Kirby also defended Pelosi's trip, saying she had "every right to go" to Taipei and blaming the Chinese for "setting off" these tensions.

"The provocateur here is Beijing," he said. "They didn't have to react this way to what is a completely normal travel by Congressional measures to Taiwan."

"The Chinese are the ones who are escalating this," Kirby added.

In a press briefing, Kirby said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directed the USS Ronald Reagan to remain in the Indo-Pacific. The ship will remain on station "to monitor the situation."

The U.S. will also conduct standard air and maritime transit through the Taiwan Strait to continue defending the freedom of the seas and peace in the region.

China Sends Fighter Jets, Bombers Around Taiwan

A Chinese government official shared a video of China's military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

"The consequences of provocations and betrayal!" Li Bijian, China's Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Karachi, said in a tweet.

China's People's Liberation Army launched several warplanes, including fighter jets and bombers, to conduct a joint reconnaissance, air assault and support mission, according to Li Bijian.

In the water, over 10 destroyers and frigates conducted a joint blockade, alert control and reconnaissance around the island of Taiwan, he added.

China Calls U.S. the 'Biggest Saboteur of Peace'

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying slammed the United States and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, calling it a "stunt."

In a series of tweets late Thursday, Hua called the U.S. the "biggest troublemaker" to stability in the region.

"Pelosi's stunt is another bankruptcy of U.S. politics, diplomacy and credibility," she tweeted. "It proves the U.S. to be the biggest saboteur of peace and the biggest troublemaker to regional stability."

Hua has been posting a string of tweets for hours since Chinese forces began military exercises around Taiwan on Thursday.

"This incident is single-handedly orchestrated and provoked by the U.S. and the cause, consequences and merits of the incident are crystal clear. China has done everything that is diplomatically possible to prevent this crisis which has been imposed on China," she continued.

"But we will not tolerate any act that harms our core interests. We will not sit by and watch the U.S. play the 'Taiwan card' to serve the U.S.'s domestic politics and the selfish interests of some politicians."

Her most recent tweet ended by saying the measures China is taking and will take are "necessary countermeasures" which she called "defensive in nature."

Taiwan's Armed Forces on Heightened Readiness

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called on China to exercise restraint, saying Taiwan will not "escalate conflict" but will defend its sovereignty and security.

President Tsai Ing-wen condemned China's military exercises during a video address late Thursday night.

"This type of continued, deliberately heightened military threat, especially the dangerous launch of missiles into some of the busiest transportation corridors in the world, is irresponsible, both to Taiwan and to the entire international community," Tsai said, via translation.

"With China initiating military exercises in areas around Taiwan today, we call on Beijing to act with reason and exercise restraint," she said.

Tsai said she is in "close contact" with allies to "halt further escalation" and said the Taiwanese government is responding with a "steady hand."

"As we speak, our nation's armed forces are already heightening their readiness and are closely following, in real time, all military developments in surrounding areas," she said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Cancels Meeting with Japan

The Chinese Foreign Minister walked out of a gala dinner of foreign ministers at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Cambodia.

Wang Yi walked into the room for the dinner and then walked out without giving a reason, Reuters reports.

Wang slammed the statement from G7 foreign ministers Thursday condemning China's missile launch in the Taiwan Strait following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan this week. He said the statement "calls white black."

"The statement of the G7 foreign ministers calls white black, confuses right and wrong, and makes groundless accusations against China's reasonable and lawful measures to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity. How do they have such rights? Who gives them that right?" Wang said, according to Chinese state media outlet CGTN.

Wang also canceled his meeting with his Japanese counterpart on the sidelines of the ASEAN event following the G7 statement, of which Japan is a member.

Japan Calls for an 'Immediate Stop' to Chinese Drills

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi strongly condemned the Chinese missile launch during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Cambodia.

Hayashi called for an "immediate stop" to China's military drills around Taiwan in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit this week, according to Japan's Kyodo News.

China launched "precision missile strikes" in the Taiwan Strait Thursday. Five ballistic missiles fired by China landed inside Japan's exclusive economic zone Thursday, according to Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.

Hayashi also said he spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the summit. Both foreign ministers agreed to strongly condemn China's launch, according to Kyodo News.

Pelosi arrived in Japan for the final leg of her Asian trip.

She is expected to meet with her Japanese counterpart and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Friday.

Pelosi in Japan
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (front R) is welcomed by US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel (4th R) upon her arrival at Yokota Air Base in Fussa, Tokyo prefecture on August 4, 2022, on the last leg of her Asian tour Kazuhiro NOGI //AFP via Getty Images

Chinese Official Says G7 'Played Dumb' Ahead of Pelosi Visit

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasted G7 leaders for their statement condemning China's actions in the Taiwan Strait, calling them "imperialists."

Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said the G7 countries still live in the days of the Eight-Power Allied Forces over 120 years ago.

"But this is no longer a world where the imperialist powers could run roughshod over Chinese people and China could be humiliated and bullied like over 100 years ago," she tweeted. "Time for G7 to wake up from their imperial dream."

She said Chinese tensions with Taiwan were caused by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent visit "in disregard of China's strong opposition and serious representations."

China said the trip violated the one-China policy, harmed China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Hua reiterated China's "firm opposition to separatism aimed at 'Taiwan independence' and foreign interference."

"If the U.S. continues down the wrong path, then all consequences arising therefrom shall be borne by the US," she said. "And do not say that we have not told them so in advance. The U.S. made a malicious provocation first, and China has been compelled to act in self-defense."

China promised to take "strong and resolute" countermeasures in response to such a "blatant provocation."

Hua said the G7 should urge the U.S. on not to make "such a dangerous, reckless and irresponsible provocation against China."

"But before Pelosi's visit, they played dumb," she said.

She added that the U.S.-led G7 "personifies aggression and coercion."

"If anyone should be accused of aggression and coercion, the G7 countries deserve it more than anyone else," Hua said.

G7 leaders put out a statement condemning China for its recent actions against Taiwan, including "live-fire exercises and economic coercion."

"The G7 must not forget that they are in no position to represent the global community," Hua said. "Their views only represent a tiny fraction of the world of nations. As Singaporean scholar Kishore Mahbubani rightly wrote, the G7... is dictatorial globally."

Russia Backs China's Drills

A spokesperson for Russia President Vladimir Putin voiced support for China's decision to hold military exercises following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this week.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Putin's presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said it is China's "sovereign right" to hold the military drills. Peskov then said Pelosi's visit to Taiwan "provoked" the "tension" in the region, according to Reuters.

"It was an absolutely unnecessary visit and an unnecessary provocation," he told reporters.

Peskov spoke against Pelosi's planned stop in Taiwan earlier this week before her visit began. On Tuesday, The Moscow Times reported that Peskov described Pelosi's anticipated visit as "pure provocation" and predicted it would prompt an "increase in tension" in the area.

"We want to emphasize once again that we are absolutely in solidarity with China, its attitude towards the problem is understandable and absolutely justified,"Peskov told reporters at the time.

A spokesperson for Russia's Foreign Ministry also said earlier this week that the U.S. is "bringing destabilization to the world" when asked about Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, according to The Moscow Times.

G7 Calls on China to Avoid Unnecessary Escalation

World leaders have come together to condemn China's actions in the Taiwan Strait.

The G7 Foreign Ministers of the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, along with the High Representative of the European Union, shared their concern over the People's Republic of China live-fire military exercises and economic coercion "which risk unnecessary escalation."

"There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait," the leaders said in a joint statement. "It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally. The PRC's escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region."

The leaders called on China "not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region" and to resolve the tension "by peaceful means."

They also reiterated their commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage all parties to "remain calm, exercise restraint, act with transparency, and maintain open lines of communication to prevent misunderstanding."

Pelosi Avoids Comments on Taiwan

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi avoided making direct comments on the China-Taiwan tension during her visit to South Korea.

China began a series of military exercises, including a live missile strike, Thursday in response to Pelosi's trip to Taiwan earlier this week.

While in Taipei, Pelosi said the United States' commitment to Taiwan's democracy and self-governance remains "ironclad."

Pelosi South Korea
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (L) poses with South Korean National Assembly speaker Kim Jin-pyo before their meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on August 4, 2022. KIM MIN-HEE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

During a joint press conference with Speaker Kim Jin-pyo of the National Assembly of Korea, Pelosi said she came to South Korea to talk about security.

She said the U.S.-South Korea relationship was built on the pillars of security, economics and governance.

"The relationship... began from urgency and security, many years ago," Pelosi said. "So we want to advance security, economy and governance in an interparliamentary way."

The two leaders also talked about economics, which Pelosi said relates to governance.

"When we talk about security, and when we talk about economics, when we talk about governance, it's the same thing," she said.

In a tweet, Pelosi said she and Kim discussed ways to advance "security, prosperity and democracy."

During a phone conversation, Pelosi and her congressional delegation did not bring up Taiwan, Yoon's office told the Associated Press.

Neither speaker took questions from the press.

Pelosi South Korea Press Conference
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and South Korean National Assembly speaker Kim Jin-pyo attend a joint press announcement after their meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on August 4, 2022. KIM Min-Hee / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Taiwan Army to Conduct Daily Training Exercises

Taiwan said it will "strengthen its vigilance" but will not escalate tensions with China.

In response to China's "irrational" behavior, the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense said in a statement the national army will conduct daily training exercises with troops at all levels.

Taiwan said China seeks to change the status quo and destabilize the Indo-Pacific region. The defense ministry is determined to "uphold the principle of preparing for war without seeking war" with an attitude of "not escalating conflict and not causing disputes."

"We seek no escalation, but we don't stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty," the Ministry said in a tweet.

China, G7 Clash Over Military Drills Around Taiwan

China lashed out at the Group of Seven and the European Union on Wednesday after a joint statement said Beijing had "no justification" for launching military drills around Taiwan in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent visit.

The statement by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States, with the addition of the EU, said China's live-fire exercises and import bans on Taiwanese goods "risk unnecessary escalation."

The Chinese mission in Brussels responded by calling the G7+1 statement "evil" and "shameless," and an interference in Beijing's internal affairs. China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as part of its territory.

On Thursday, China called off scheduled talks between its foreign minister, Wang Yi, and his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, at an ASEAN meeting in Cambodia over Tokyo's part in the G7 statement.

Hua Chunying, China's vice foreign minister and Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told reporters in Beijing that the Chinese government was displeased with Japan's actions.

China Sends 'Hundreds' of Warplanes for Drills Circling Taiwan: State Media

China's military dispatched "hundreds" of fighter aircraft, bombers and other warplanes to conduct joint operations in the skies around Taiwan, Chinese state media said Thursday.

More than 10 warships held positions in the waters around the island for "joint containment operations," said China's state broadcaster CCTV, which described the deployments as a "practical training exercise of unprecedented scale."

This week's Chinese military drills—the largest since the third Taiwan Strait crisis of 1995 and 1996—were announced after Nancy Pelosi defied Beijing's warnings to visit Taipei on Tuesday, becoming the first serving House speaker to travel to the island since Newt Gingrich in 1997.

In response, China said it would hold live-fire exercises between Thursday and Sunday. The ballistic missile tests began after midday local time, but warplane and warship maneuvers, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry, began the night before, just hours after Pelosi departed for Seoul.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying called the United States "the provocateur" and China "the victim." Beijing's response, she said, was to "act in self-defense."

China Sends 'Hundreds' of Warplanes For Drills
Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying attends a daily press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing on August 4, 2022. China’s largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan kicked off on August 4, in a show of force after a visit to the island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

China Says Ballistic Missile Tests Counter 'U.S.-Taiwan Collusion'

China's Defense Ministry, which last week promised to respond if Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, said its missile tests on Thursday were aimed at deterring "collusion" between Washington and Taipei.

The House speaker's trip to the Chinese-claimed island between August 2 and 3 was a "serious political provocation," the ministry said in a statement on its website. The California Democrat's delegation "seriously damaged state-to-state and military-to-military relations between China and the United States," it said.

The statement said Chinese forces had conducted operations in the seas and skies around the island, drills that included precision missile tests in several maritime zones off Taiwan's major ports. The missile strikes were "a solemn deterrence against U.S.-Taiwan collusion," it said.

Chinese officials argue President Joe Biden could've prevented Pelosi from traveling to Taiwan, a visit that made her the most senior American elected official to set foot on the island in 25 years. The White House, which reports suggested opposed the speaker's risky travel, said it has no authority of Congress.

According to U.S. officials, Washington policy of not supporting formal Taiwan independence hasn't changed.

China Missile Tests Near Taiwan Land in Japan Maritime Zone: Official

Several Chinese missiles fired into the waters east of Taiwan on Thursday landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, a senior diplomat told reporters in Tokyo.

China's People's Liberation Army conducted several hours of military exercises in which Taiwan said 11 Dongfeng series ballistic missiles struck international waters off its north, east and south coast. The drills were a response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to the island.

At least five of those precision-guided projectiles hit the Japanese EEZ, said Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori. Tokyo lodged a "strong protest" with Beijing through diplomatic channels, he said.

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, littoral states are granted an EEZ that extends no more than 200 nautical miles after a 12 nautical mile territorial sea. Countries have no sovereignty over the waters, but they do have a right to explore and use maritime resources within them.

Missile tests by Pyongyang often land in Tokyo's EEZ in the Sea of Japan. After Beijing's missile barrages concluded, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry accused China of "imitating North Korea."

China Missile Land In Japan EEZ
An illustrated map created by Vietnamese journalist Duan Dang points to the approximate location where Chinese ballistic missiles are said to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone on August 4, 2022. The map also shows all six locations around Taiwan where China's military drills are to take place through August 7, as well as two locations closer to the mainland, previous used by Beijing for military drills during the third Taiwan Strait crisis in 1996. Duan Dang

China 'Imitating North Korea' With Missile Tests in Nearby Waters—Taiwan

Taiwan accused China of following the example of North Korea on Thursday as the Chinese military launched nearly a dozen ballistic missiles into the waters near the island in the largest escalation of tensions in nearly three decades.

In a statement on its website, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry condemned the Chinese government for "imitating North Korea by arbitrarily conducting missile tests in waters near another nation."

The move "threatened Taiwan's national security, raised regional tensions and affected normal international traffic and trade," the ministry said, urging Beijing's "self-restriction."

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said Chinese forces fired 11 Dongfeng series ballistic missiles into the waters north, south and east of Taiwan between 1:56 and 4 p.m. local time.

On Wednesday, ministry spokesperson Sun Li-fang called the missile tests—scheduled to last through Sunday morning—"irrational." Taiwan's armed forces would stick to their posts, he said.

"We will raise our guard by upholding the rational attitude of preparing for war and not seeking war, responding to war and not avoiding war, and not escalating conflict," Sun said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry appealed to the international community to jointly condemn China's actions. The ministry "calls on all countries to continue to stand in solidarity with democratic Taiwan, to jointly defend the values of freedom and democracy, and to safeguard the rules-based international order as well as the free and openness of the Indo-Pacific region."

China Declares Missile Tests Successful

The Chinese military on Thursday declared successful a series of precision-guided missile tests that targeted international waters west and east of Taiwan, part of a show of force in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei earlier in the week.

"On the afternoon of August 4, rocket forces of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Easter Theater Command [ETC] conducted multi-area, multi-type guided live fire in designated maritime zones east of Taiwan," said spokesperson Col. Shi Yi.

"All guided missiles accurately struck their targets, testing precision strike and area denial capabilities," he said. "The entire live-fire training mission has successfully concluded, and relevant sea and air restrictions have been removed."

China on Tuesday had announced military exercises between August 4 and 7 in six zones circling Taiwan. It wasn't immediately clear which areas to which Shi's statement referred.

China Declares Missile Tests Successful
This illustration carried by China’s state broadcaster CCTV on August 4, 2022, reportedly shows the locations of precision missile tests Chinese rocket forces conducted in the waters east of Taiwan. CCTV

Earlier, the ETC said it conducted "long-range firepower" drills by launching projectiles at "selected targets" in the eastern portion of the Taiwan Strait after 1 p.m. "Expected outcomes were achieved," the statement said.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry confirmed the detection of China's Dongfeng series ballistic missiles after 1:56 p.m. They landed in waters northeast and southwest of the island, it said. The ministry shared an image of the country's American-made Patriot systems, saying air defenses had been activated.