Chinese officials have repeatedly warned the Biden Administration that a visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would be seen as an act of aggression toward the Chinese. However, this isn’t the first time that China has threatened Taiwan should a prominent member of Congress visit the island. In 1997, China did much the same when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich visited Taiwan.
However, prior to Gingrich’s visit, then-President Bill Clinton had made it clear that he had no problem activating the Seventh Fleet should China display any aggression afterwards. President Biden has made no such announcement, and China’s military has vastly expanded since that time.
At the same time, The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. military has said it is prepared “for every contingency” if Speaker Pelosi does visit Taiwan. As of this writing, Pelosi’s schedule for the Asian trip has not been announced. This has left many Chinese officials even more infuriated over the Speaker’s upcoming trip.
The Associated Press says officials told the media outlet that they will have fighter jets as well as ships, in addition to “surveillance assets and other military systems” in place “to provide overlapping protection” for not only her flight to the island, but also for her protection during her stay in Taiwan. Again, the Speaker has not officially announced her itinerary yet.
Last week, the Chinese government said it “would take forceful measures” if Pelosi did in fact visit Taiwan. A media outlet known as the Financial Times reported a stop in Taiwan.
Taiwan is officially the Republic of China, and it is off the coast of China’s mainland. Taiwan says they are an independent country, but China says Taiwan is a part of their territory. In the last year especially, Chinese jets have flown over Taiwan air space. China seems to want to isolate Taiwan from global allies, although the United States has no official relations with Taiwan.
Pelosi is set to visit Idonesia, japan, Malaysia and Singapore, but it is uncertain if she will visit Taiwan to date. This itinerary was provided in a British media publication; it is not official from the Speaker’s office.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden and President Xi of China had a two-hour long phone call. On Friday morning, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Biden Administration “is lying” when President Biden said he addressed issues of “genocide” and “forced labor” in the Communist country.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had told the media on Thursday that President Biden had specifically “raised ethical concerns over forced labor and ethnic genocide in China.”
On Friday, the Chinese Minister told reporters “that is disinformation.”
The genocide and forced labor claims would be related to accusations that the Chinese government has “wrongfully imprisoned” as many as 3 million Uyghurs from the Xinjiang region of China. Rumors abound that the government has also forced many to undergo sterilization or abortion procedures in an effort to stamp out the people.
The Chinese government says that the camps where the Uyghurs are held are “re-education camps,” where the individuals held are said to be “Islamic extremists.”
The leaders of Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties – the Democratic Progressive Party and the Kuomintang (KMT) – have put out the welcome mat for Speaker Pelosi as she travels to the Far East. Both parties have rejected the Chinese threats, describing them as “hot air.” However, some individuals are concerned that both American leaders and Taiwanese leaders are being glib regarding the strong warnings given by members of the CCP.
The former editor of the Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, says that China could very well fly jets over Taiwan. This is something that hasn’t been done since 1949.
Another Chinese media outlet suggests that the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) might decide to conduct military exercises near the Taiwan Strait, which would impose a no-fly zone in the area. This would mean Nancy Pelosi’s plane would likely have to take a detour.