OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A commentator for the Chinese government-controlled state media “Global Times” has threatened that China could shoot House Speaker and Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s plane out of the sky when she visits Taiwan.
“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down,” Hu Xijin said.
If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down. https://t.co/V7LhrXgXoM
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) July 29, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to depart Friday for a tour of Asia, though whether she stops in Taiwan remains uncertain, a person familiar with the plans said.
Pelosi’s trip includes stops in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore — all US allies in the region.
But a drop-in to self-governing Taiwan was still only tentative as China issues warnings about the House speaker making a possible visit and US-China relations are at a low point.
Pelosi is bringing a delegation of fellow lawmakers on the visit. She has refused to answer reporters’ inquiries about her plans, saying on Wednesday in response to a question about a potential Taiwan visit, “I never talk about my travel. It’s a danger to me.”
Taiwan has emerged as a serious point of conflict between the US and China, as US officials fear a more imminent Chinese move on the self-governing island. National security officials have quietly worked to convince Pelosi of the risks her potential trip to Taiwan could pose during a highly sensitive moment.
In a lengthy and candid phone call on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a stern warning to President Joe Biden over the issue.
“Public opinion shall not be violated, and if you play with fire you get burned. I hope the US side can see this clearly,” he said to the president.
This month the Chinese government has reacted angrily to the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be traveling to Taiwan next month.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Pelosi’s stopover in Taiwan will come as part of a regional trip in Asia that includes visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, Reuters noted.
“If the U.S. side obstinately clings to this course, China will definitely take resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response.
“The United States must be fully responsible for all the consequences caused by this,” he said.
#China urges that #US must not arrange House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, stop official exchange with #Taiwan, and stop creating tensions over the Taiwan Straits, or China will take forceful countermeasures: Chinese Foreign Ministry pic.twitter.com/qc4Xl0fS8H
— Zhang Meifang张美芳 (@CGMeifangZhang) July 19, 2022
The Speaker’s visit to Taiwan would cause “grave harm to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” he continued, according to The Washington Post, while it would also “seriously impact the political foundations of China-U.S. relations.”
The Western Journal adds:
Taiwan, an island off the coast of China, became the refuge for China’s Nationalist government in 1949 after it lost the Chinese civil war to Mao Zedong and the Communists.
The United States does not officially recognize Taiwan’s government but has a policy that no changes in the status quo should take place. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China has taken an increasingly aggressive tone toward Taiwan, claiming that the island is rightfully a part of China and should be governed as such. That has sparked increased military maneuvers around Taiwan.
Apparently, the Biden administration has expressed concerns about Pelosi’s trip, which would take place around the same time that China will be observing the Aug. 1 anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
The announced trip also comes a day after Beijing asked Washington to cancel $108 million in military-technical assistance to the island democracy.
"We won’t have a blind eye on #China’s threats to Taiwan. Europe was late for hk, we won't be late for #Taiwan. There is no room for Chinese aggression in democratic Taiwan," European Parliament vice president Nicola Beer said after arriving in Taiwan for a three-day visit. pic.twitter.com/HuTVhMtTNp
— Amber Wang (@ambermywang) July 19, 2022
Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe hit on the subject of Taiwan in June when he also issued a warning to the U.S., The Washington Post reported.
“Some people in the U.S. try to suppress China on all fronts. If you want confrontation, we will fight to the end,” Wei said. “If someone forces a war on China, the military will not flinch.”
“The People’s Liberation Army has fought many powerful adversaries and won many victories. We do not provoke trouble, but we will not flinch in the face of provocation. We will not bully others, but we will not allow others to bully us,” he said.
It’s not clear what battles and victories he is talking about, as the country has not fought major battles since its bloody, and costly, three-week war with Vietnam in 1979.
Wei then turned his attention to the United States.
“China will not be the bully. We are all clear-eyed about who is the bully. Let me be clear: If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight. We will fight at all costs, and we will fight to the very end,” he vowed.
He also said the world needs to get used to China playing a commanding, if not dominating, role.
“China’s development is a historical trend. It is neither possible nor sensible to try to stop it,” he said.