Chinese state media threatened Taiwan with “unbearable consequences” if US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the nation as her plane departed for Asia on Saturday.
“If Pelosi does visit Taiwan as planned, the authorities will be Tsai Ing-wen’s accomplices[s]’ wrote Hu Xijin, a commentator for the Chinese state-affiliated Global Times, on Twitter, referring to the Taiwanese government.
“The mainland will definitely carry out severe punitive actions against Taiwan at the same time. The Tsai authorities will bear the unbearable consequences.’
Along with the warning, Xijin posted an image tracking the flight of the Boeing C-40C plane carrying the Speaker of the House as she departed from San Francisco.
The latest warning comes as the Chinese military conducted live-fire drills off its coast across from Taiwan on Saturday morning after Xijin claimed China could shoot down Pelosi’s plane.
Hu Xijin, a commentator for the Chinese state-affiliated Global Times, threatened Taiwan if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited the country
Pelosi is reportedly on the air en route to the Asia-Pacific region for the start of an Asia tour that will include stops in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore in August, as China threatens to shoot her down if she visits the island of Taiwan
On Saturday morning, the Chinese military conducted sharp drills off its coast opposite Taiwan after warnings that Pelosi’s plane could be shot down
The People’s Liberation Army conducted the “sniping exercises” near the Pingtan Islands off Fujian province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the area.
Such exercises usually involve artillery. The one-sentence announcement gave no indication as to whether Saturday’s drill might also include missiles, warplanes or other weapons.
Two other ships, identified by Vietnam-based sea monitor Duan Dang as a Chinese Type 052D destroyer and a Type 054A frigate, were sighted 27 km and 23 km from the Taiwan Strait. Both are armed with surface-to-air missiles.
Meanwhile, after drills in nearby Hainan Province, the Chinese Navy conducted military drills off its southern coast near Guangdong.
It’s all seen as a show of force to dissuade Pelosi from visiting the island.
Beijing has reacted furiously to the upcoming visit of the US government’s third-ranking official to Taiwan. Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned President Joe Biden on Thursday that “those who play with fire will perish.”
“We hope that the US will have clear eyes on this.”
Xijin’s latest warning to the US comes a day after Twitter temporarily suspended his account after implying China would shoot down Pelosi’s plane and his military escort.
“If US warplanes escort Pelosi’s plane to Taiwan, that’s an invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly evict Pelosi’s aircraft and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and tactical obstruction movements. If ineffective then shoot them down,” Xijin wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
The spokeswoman has not confirmed whether she will visit the island democracy as part of an Asia tour with stops in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.
When asked about the potential Taiwan trip on Friday, Pelosi simply replied, “I’m not talking about my trip because it’s a security issue.”
Two ships identified as a Chinese Type 052D destroyer and a Type 054A frigate were seen 27 km and 23 km from the Taiwan Strait. Both are armed with surface-to-air missiles (stock photos)
Pictured: The Taiwan Navy July 2 launches a US-made standard rocket from a frigate during the annual Han Kuang exercise at sea near Suao naval port in Yilan county
As the leader of the US government’s equal legislature, Biden has no authority to order her to call off the visit.
Biden said last week the Pentagon doesn’t think a trip to Taiwan is “a good idea.”
“Well I guess the military doesn’t think it’s a good idea right now,” Biden responded to a question about Pelosi’s reported trip. “But I don’t know what the status is.”
In a phone call between the leaders of the two superpowers on Thursday, the Chinese premier said he strongly opposes Taiwan’s independence and interference from outside forces.
Biden expressed that the US stance on the issue has not changed, according to a reading at the meeting.
“Regarding Taiwan, President Biden underscored that United States policy has not changed and that the United States firmly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine cross-strait peace and stability,” the statement said Advertisement.
“If it goes, there will definitely be a cross-strait crisis, and it will definitely surpass the last one of 1995-1996,” Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Financial Times.
“That’s because China’s military capabilities far exceed those of 26 years ago.”
President Joe Biden posted on his Twitter a picture of a two-hour conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday morning — the fifth between the two since Biden took office
According to Chinese state media, Xi warned Biden on the call: “Those who play with fire will only be burned. I hope the US side can see this clearly.
Despite this, most analysts believe China would be keen to avoid an open military conflict with the US, which has military bases across the region and the USS Ronald Reagan carrier group in the South China Sea.
Despite this reluctance, the PLA has flown growing numbers of fighter jets and bombers near Taiwan and has historically fired missiles into shipping routes to the island.
Taiwan and China separated in 1949 after a civil war that ended in a communist victory on the mainland.
The two governments say they are one country but disagree on who should have national leadership. They have no official ties, but are linked through billions of dollars of trade and investment.