The Chinese military may declare a “no-fly zone” over Taiwan if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempts to visit the island in August, CNN reported Thursday, citing an anonymous U.S. government official.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may also respond by deploying warplanes deep into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), an anonymous U.S. government official told CNN.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden shared U.S. military concerns regarding Pelosi’s purported August visit to Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, which Financial Times first reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.
“The U.S. must not arrange for Speaker Pelosi to visit the Taiwan region and must stop official interactions with Taiwan,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, at a Tuesday press conference in Beijing when asked about Pelosi’s trip. “Should the U.S. side insist on doing otherwise, China will take strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Zhao expressed similar opposition to Pelosi’s intended Taiwan visit in April, but the House speaker’s plans were scuttled at the last minute after she tested positive for COVID-19, CNN reported.
Although U.S. government officials, such as Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, have repeatedly visited Taiwan in recent years, Pelosi would be the highest-ranking U.S. politician to visit the island since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich visited in 1997, CNN reported.
A Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “it wouldn’t be appropriate” for the DOD to comment on congressional travel plans.
“We regularly provide information to members of Congress considering travel as part of their national security oversight responsibilities,” the DOD spokesman said. “As a reminder, Congress is an independent branch of government under our Constitution and members make independent decisions about travel.”
Tensions between the U.S. and China in the Indo-Pacific have spiked in recent years in keeping with Chinese military provocations, such as the PLA’s Taiwan invasion “rehearsal” which occurred in May. Moreover, the PLA has deployed warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ more than 1,400 times during Biden’s presidency.
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Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy, told the DCNF that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is justified in claiming Taiwan as sovereign territory.
“Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Taiwan question is an issue left over from the civil war in China,” Liu said. “The means of its resolution is China’s internal affair, where no foreign country has any right to interfere. The Chinese people’s resolve and will to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering.”
Pelosi and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.