Taiwan’s AAV7 amphibious assault vehicle prepare for landing during an Amphibious landing drill as part of the Han Kuang military exercise in Pingtung, Taiwan, July 28, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

As a possible warning to the US, China has announced military maneuvers near Taiwan. As the authorities in China announced on Saturday, parts of the waters in Fujian province were closed for a maneuver in which live ammunition was to be used.

The exercise was scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (local time). The affected area is north of the Taiwan Strait, which separates mainland China and the island republic of Taiwan.

Tensions between Beijing and Washington have increased significantly over the past few days over a possible trip to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Beijing had threatened clear consequences in the event of such a trip, which Pelosi himself has not confirmed.

In a conversation with US President Joe Biden on Thursday, China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping said with reference to Taiwan, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry: “Those who play with fire will perish.”

The Chinese leadership sees democratic Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic and sees visits by foreign politicians as a provocation.

Meanwhile, a Chinese surveillance ship bound for Sri Lanka is causing irritation in the Indian Ocean region. The Yuan Wang 5 is en route to Hambantota Port and is expected on Aug. 11, Sri Lankan TV station News First reported.

The ship, which belongs to China’s People’s Liberation Army, is used to track satellite and ICBMs. India fears that the Chinese-financed and leased port of Beijing in neighboring Sri Lanka could serve as a military base in the future.

Relations between neighboring nuclear powers India and China are also strained after deadly border incidents in the Himalayas in 2020.

China is a major lender to Sri Lanka. The island state south of India with around 22 million inhabitants is currently experiencing the worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

The leadership under the new President Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently hoping for further financial aid from China. The giant empire has already financed airports, roads and railway lines in the country. The port of Hambantota, also funded by China, is close to the main shipping route from Asia to Europe.