In early August, China protested U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan by conducting a week of live-fire military exercises in the maritime and air spaces surrounding the island.

China established six maritime target areas that encircled Taiwan, and from the mainland, fired ballistic missiles over the island. Strategic bombers loaded with surface-to-air missiles conducted an attack simulation. For the first time, China established a military drill zone to the east of Taiwan and launched five ballistic missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone. In short, China carried out a “dry run” of a Taiwan invasion.

The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven criticized China’s actions in a joint declaration, saying: “There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait.” The word “pretext” gets to the essence of China’s violent response to Pelosi’s visit. China may feign passivity, and claim that it had no choice but to respond to “provocations” by others, but in reality, it was the instigator.