The Chinese Military announced Saturday that it would be holding live-fire naval exercises in the Taiwan Strait, ahead of a possible visit to the island by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Tensions have been rising in the region since Nancy Pelosi announced that she would be making a tour of Asian allied countries, including Japan and Malaysia. A U.S. strike group has been heading toward the South China Sea as well.
Pelosi’s visit would be little more than a stopover, but Chinese officials have exploded with rage at the idea of Pelosi visiting Taiwan. They allege that it would be in violation of the One China Policy and would be viewed as aiding an illegal rebellion. Should Pelosi visit, one state media official has said that the country should shoot down her plane.
“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion,” Hu Xijin, former editor of the state-run Global Times, said on Twitter. “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.”
Xijin is a Chinese Communist Party member and former Chinese military officer. He is often considered the Mouthpiece of the Chinese Government, saying what they want to say, but cannot.
China has long held claims of sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese military constantly sends planes into the vicinity, testing the Taiwanese air defense systems.
While the U.S. does not hold official relations with Taiwan, it maintains the One China Policy. However, America has been stepping up relations with the island as China seeks to isolate it from the rest of the world.
U.S military forces are moving forces into the ocean near Taiwan ahead of the possible visit.
The USS Ronald Reagan and a strike group are currently in the vicinity after they left a port in Singapore Tuesday. A Navy spokesperson confirmed the news but said it was a planned trip.
“I can confirm USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group are now underway, operating in the South China Sea following a successful port visit to Singapore,” Lt. Mark Langford said. “As a matter of policy, we do not discuss future ship movements; however, I will add that Reagan is continuing normal, scheduled operations as part of her routine patrol in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
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