China threatened to shoot down Nancy Pelosi’s plane if she goes to Taiwan

The maneuvers announced by China will be limited and will take place very close to the Chinese coast (REUTERS / Ann Wang / File Photo)

China announced on Saturday a military exercise with “live ammunition” in the Taiwan Strait, on the eve of a possible visit to the island by the leader of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that a visit to Taiwan by Pelosi “It would challenge China’s red line, and any challenge to our red line will certainly be met with strong countermeasures.”

In that sense, Hu Xijincommentator on Global Timesaffiliated with the Chinese state, wrote on Twitter that “If US warplanes escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it’s an invasion. The PLA (Chinese People’s Liberation Army) has the right to forcibly expel Pelosi’s plane and US fighter jets, including warning shots and tactical obstruction moves. If they are not effective, then they are shot”.

China considers Taiwan, an island of about 23 million people, as one of its provinces.which has not yet been reunited with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war (1949).

The Chinese government opposes any initiative that gives international legitimacy to the Taiwanese authorities and to all official contacts between Taiwan and other countries.

US officials frequently visit the island, but China considers that a visit by Pelosi, one of the highest-ranking US officials, would be a major provocation.

Nancy Pelosi could travel to the island (REUTERS / Elizabeth Frantz)
Nancy Pelosi could travel to the island (REUTERS / Elizabeth Frantz)

In this context, the Chinese maritime security authorities said that a “military exercise” off the island of Pingtan, in the Chinese province of Fujian (east), opposite Taiwan.

Live ammunition will be fired (…) between 08:00 and 21:00. [00H00 y 13H00 GMT] and all entry shall be prohibited” in these watersaccording to the statement, dated Thursday but only echoed by the Chinese media on Friday.

Pingtan is the closest territory controlled by the People’s Republic of China to Taiwan. The area for Saturday’s maneuvers is about 120 kilometers from the Taiwanese coast.

US Secretary of StateAntony Blinken, He said this Friday that he hopes that his country and China manage to manage their discrepancies on Taiwan.

When asked about a possible trip by Pelosi, Blinken shied away from mentioning it, merely reiterating that, in a phone call Thursday, the president Joe Biden insisted to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that the United States “firmly opposes any unilateral effort” to change the status quo in Taiwan.

“We have a lot of differences when it comes to Taiwan, but for the last 40 years we have managed those differences and we have done so in a way that has preserved peace and stability and allowed the people of Taiwan to prosper,” Blinken said.

China considers Taiwan, an island of about 23 million inhabitants, as one of its provinces (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)
China considers Taiwan, an island of about 23 million inhabitants, as one of its provinces (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

The United States recognizes the Chinese regime since 1979, according to the principle of “one China” whose capital is in Beijing. It does not officially recognize Taiwan, but supports it militarily.

“It would be important, as part of our shared responsibility, to continue to manage this in a way smart not to create the prospect of conflict and keeping the lines of communication open on the issue”Blinken told reporters.

“We believe that direct communication between leaders is the most essential aspect of fulfilling our responsibilities to manage problems like those in Taiwan in the most responsible way possible,” he said.

The Biden administration is concerned about travel plans to Taiwan for Pelosi, who is third in line for the presidency, for fear that Beijing will interpret it as a provocation.

Pelosi, a member of Biden’s Democratic Party who has long been critical of China, has not commented on his travel plans.

(With information from AFP)

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