White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to comment on threats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made by a commentator for a Chinese state media outlet on social media during a Friday press briefing.
“I’m not going to speak to a hypothetical,” Jean-Pierre said after being asked by Peter Doocy of Fox News about a series of Twitter posts by Hu Xijin, a former editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-owned Global Times.
“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,” Hu tweeted Friday. “If ineffective, shoot them down.”
Hu said in a Thursday post that if Biden couldn’t dissuade Pelosi from visiting Taiwan “the PLA air force will definitely take action.” He claimed Wednesday “China will not allow Pelosi’s TW visit to be conducted smoothly” in response to a tweet by the AP reporting the Pentagon was making contingency plans to protect Pelosi from potential attacks.
“China will not allow Pelosi’s TW visit to be conducted smoothly, and PLA will definitely make further plan in response to US military’s escort. There’ll be unprecedented crisis over the Taiwan Strait. Possibility of a military conflict caused by misjudgment is increasing greatly,” Hu said.
“Chinese mainland will not confirm in advance how to counter Pelosi’s provocation either,” Hu posted last week. “But the US and Taiwan authorities will definitely pay a high price for her visit. This will be ultimately a military game, a good show full of suspense.”
Pelosi departed on the trip to Asia earlier Friday with confirmed visits to Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, CNN reported. No stop in Taiwan has been confirmed.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman called on Pelosi to scrap the planned Taiwan visit Friday, claiming that angering China would hurt efforts to defeat Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.