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Before scheduled Pelosi visit, Chinese warplanes buzz line dividing Taiwan Strait, according to source

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - As three Chinese jets flew near the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, a source told Reuters that U....

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - As three Chinese jets flew near the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, a source told Reuters that U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was due to arrive in Taipei later on Tuesday.

The United States stated on Monday that it will not be frightened by Chinese "sabre rattling" over Pelosi's journey to Taiwan, which China has frequently warned against. Taiwan is claimed by China as being part of its territory.

Several Chinese vessels have remained close to the informal dividing line since Monday, the source told Reuters, in addition to Chinese planes flying near the delicate waterway's median line on Tuesday morning.

The insider claimed that on Tuesday morning, Chinese warships and aircraft "squeezed" the middle line, an unusual action the individual referred to as "extremely provocative."

The person claimed that on Tuesday morning, with Taiwanese aircraft nearby in standby, Chinese aircraft repeatedly made tactical manoeuvres of briefly "touching" the median line and then circling back to the opposite side of the strait.

Normally, neither side's aircraft crosses the median.

Taiwan's Defence Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that it has a complete understanding of military activity close to Taiwan and will send out forces as necessary in response to "enemy threats."

Requests for comment from China's defence and foreign ministries were not immediately fulfilled.

Residents in the military-heavy city of Xiamen in southeast China reported seeing armoured vehicles moving on Tuesday and shared images online. Xiamen is located opposite Taiwan and has a sizable military presence.

Pelosi's visit was the top trending subject on the Twitter-like Weibo, which was awash in patriotic fervour about the prospect of unification with Taiwan as well as anxiety about impending violence.

Most of Pelosi's scheduled appointments, including her meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen, are scheduled for Wednesday, according to a source familiar with her schedule, so it's probable that her team won't arrive in Taiwan until early on Wednesday.

The individual said, "Everything is unknown.

Without citing any specific sources, Taiwan's Liberty Times newspaper reported that Pelosi's team was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday at 10:20 p.m. (1420 GMT).

Tuesday saw Pelosi travelling to Malaysia after starting her Asia tour in Singapore on Monday. She will also visit South Korea and Japan, according to her office, but a trip to Taiwan was not mentioned.

The White House, which would not confirm the trip, said Pelosi had the right to go, but Taiwan's foreign ministry stated that it had no comment on the reports of her travel plans.

According to White House national security spokesman John Kirby, Beijing's retaliation might include shooting missiles near Taiwan, extensive air or naval operations, or other "spurious legal arguments" like China's allegation that the Taiwan Strait is not an international waterway.

"We won't fall for the trap or start rattling our swords. At the same time, we won't back down, "added Kirby.


According to four sources, Pelosi was supposed to see a small number of activists on Wednesday afternoon who are vocal against China's human rights record.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation predicts that the meeting will take place at the National Human Rights Museum in New Taipei City.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, warned that the Chinese People's Liberation Army "would never sit idly by" if Pelosi visited Taiwan, calling it "a grave intervention in China's internal affairs."

Zhao responded, "If she dares to depart, then let us wait and see," when asked what possible measures the PLA would take.

China sees visits by American officials to Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims, as a positive sign for the island's pro-independence movement. Despite not having formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Washington is required by American law to give the island the tools to defend itself.

Pelosi's visit would take place at a time when relations between Washington and Beijing are deteriorating. Pelosi is the second in line to become president of the United States and has long been a vocal opponent of China.

The White House has criticised China's statements as being improper and without foundation.


According to Kirby, Pelosi's potential travel would not alter U.S. policy toward Taiwan, and Beijing was aware that due to the separation of powers within the U.S. government, Pelosi would have complete discretion over the visit.

He stated during the White House briefing that "the speaker has the right to visit Taiwan."

President Joe Biden of the United States received a warning from Chinese President Xi Jinping last Thursday during a phone chat, telling him that Washington should uphold the one-China concept and that "those who play with fire will perish by it."

Biden assured Xi that the United States' position on Taiwan had not changed and that Washington vehemently opposes any unilateral actions that would threaten regional peace and security.

Beijing has never renounced using force to annex Taiwan and views the island as a part of its sovereignty. Taiwan denies China's claims to sovereignty and asserts that only the island's residents have the power to determine its future.

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