'We can shoot her plane down': China takes measures to intimidate US and Taiwan ahead of Pelosi visit

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) tours the parliament house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Aug. 2, 2022. (Malaysia’s Department of Information via AP)

It is uncertain whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan during her Asia trip, so the Chinese communist party has chosen to militarily and economically threaten the self-governed island.

On August 2, local Taiwanese media reported that Chinese customs officials announced a temporary restriction on food imports from more than 100 Taiwanese enterprises. The snack food and farming companies are among those threatened by the prohibition.

Director-general of Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration, Wu Shou-mei, told reporters on Tuesday that she could not rule out "political reasons" as a part of Beijing's decision to implement the ban.

In response to the Chinese embargo, Taiwan's governing party lawmaker Wang Ting-yu tweeted, "We will not be intimidated by the PRC's [People's Republic of China] weaponization of trade."

Chen Kuan-ting, chief executive officer of the Taiwanese think tank NextGen Foundation, stated that China is utilizing the restriction for political purposes.

Chen stated on Twitter that China's decision to halt some food and agricultural imports in reaction to a future visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan was an underhanded attempt to punish Taiwan for U.S. actions.

Chen stated, "China continues to use economic manipulation techniques to influence Taiwan's political relationships and behavior." This demonstrates China's attempt to impose its will on the China-Taiwan relationship unilaterally.

On the morning of August 2, Pelosi arrived in Malaysia, the second destination of her Asia journey after Singapore. She met with President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan during her time in Singapore.

China has responded fiercely to the idea that Pelosi could visit Taiwan, an island with self-government that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wishes to claim as part of its territory. If Pelosi decided to come to the island, China's state media stated that the Chinese military should "shoot" down her plane.

It is yet unknown whether Pelosi will visit Taiwan. Nevertheless, local media have claimed that she will arrive at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, visit the island's parliament, and meet with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen the following day, citing unknown sources.

Before Pelosi's anticipated August 1 visit, U.S. military assets were reported to be in the neighborhood of Taiwan. USNI News reports that at least two U.S. navy vessels, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the amphibious transport dock USS Tripoli, are patrolling near the South China Sea.

Both Democrats and Republicans have urged Pelosi to make the trip to Taiwan.

"China cannot bully the United States Congress," tweeted Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on August 2. "I applaud Speaker Pelosi's potential trip to Taiwan, as it underscores the commitment of the United States Congress to human rights, democracy, and freedom," she said.

Pelosi was advised by Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), who visited Taiwan in 2021 along with many other members, including Sens. Joh Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), to disregard the CCP's warnings.

Gonzales tweeted, "The Chinese Communist Party threatened me before my trip to Taiwan last year." "I strongly urge Speaker Pelosi to disregard the CCP and demonstrate America's commitment to its allies.

The CCP's Posture

Before Pelosi's potential travel to Taiwan, the CCP has chosen to conduct a series of military maneuvers to demonstrate its strength.

On August 1, China's state-run media supposedly revealed footage of China's DF-17 hypersonic missile, also known as the "aircraft carrier killer."

According to Chinese state media, China will conduct five military drills in the South China Sea beginning on August 2. In addition, a four-day live-fire exercise will conclude on August 4 in the Bohai Sea, located on China's eastern coast.

Additionally, on August 1, four Chinese J-16 fighter jets violated Taiwan's southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ). In reaction, Taiwan's military scrambled fighter aircraft, broadcast radio alerts, and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor the activity.

An ADIZ is a publicly designated area adjacent to a state's national airspace in which approaching foreign aircraft are required to report their IDs and location. The region provides a state with sufficient time to assess the nature of an incoming plane and take any necessary defense actions.

According to Reuters, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in a statement made on August 2 that it will appropriately dispatch forces in response to "enemy threats," as it is well aware of military activity near the island.

In addition, the ministry stated that it has the "determination, capability, and confidence" to maintain Taiwan's national security and has made several undefined emergency preparations.

The Taiwanese government-run Central News Agency stated on Tuesday, citing an unknown source, that the military has increased its combat preparedness since 8 a.m. The elevated condition will last till noon on August 4.

Publish : 2022-08-02 16:22:00

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