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Republican Party strategist John Jordan has suggested that China‘s leader Xi Jinping is constrained over Taiwan given the growing problems facing the country’s economy. Mr Jordan believes Beijing’s actions regarding Taiwan are being “constrained” by China’s poor economic performance and the knock-on effect the slowdown is having on the Chinese Communist Party’s popularity. 

Mr Jordan told Sky News Australia: “China’s a huge importer of energy, they have massive trade routes across oceans they can’t protect the Indian Ocean, for example.

“They’re an export-driven economy, one of the points their economy is actually teetering right now, and there’s been a lot of trouble 30 percent of it of their economy depends on the real estate market which is in big trouble with Evergrande they’re sitting on a debt bomb.

“They’re sitting on a demographic time bomb, and they have these rolling Covid shutdowns so they’re not making meeting their economic targets and people are unhappy and this is, well not a democracy.

“The party bureaucracy in Beijing is conscious of public opinion and does value stability above all else. 

“And that more than anything else is constraining Chinese actions in and around Taiwan.

‘At the same time, kind of driving them to doing what they’re doing because they need to thread the needle between looking tough, but not pushing it too far.”

Enraged when Pelosi became the highest-level U.S. visitor in 25 years to the self-governed island that Beijing regards as its territory, China launched military drills in the seas and skies around Taiwan on Thursday. The live-fire drills, the largest ever conducted by China in the Taiwan Strait, are scheduled to continue until noon on Sunday.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Friday it scrambled jets to warn away Chinese aircraft that it said entered the island’s air defence zone, some of which crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides.

Blinken emphasised that the United States would not take actions to provoke a crisis, but it would continue to support regional allies and conduct standard air and maritime transit through the Taiwan Strait.

“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said.

A US  official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Chinese officials had not responded to calls made by senior Pentagon officials this week, but the move was seen as China showing displeasure over the Pelosi trip rather than severing the channel between senior defense officials including US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told a media briefing after the ASEAN meetings: “I heard that U.S. Secretary of State Blinken held his news conference and spread some misinformation and was not speaking truthfully.”