TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night despite threats from Beijing of serious consequences, becoming the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China in 25 years.
Pelosi’s visit has triggered increased tension between China and the United States. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, to be annexed by force if necessary, and views visits by foreign government officials as recognition of the island’s sovereignty.
China had warned of “resolute and strong measures” if Pelosi went ahead with the trip, but has given no details on what they might be. Speculation has centered on threatening military exercises and possible incursions by Chinese planes and ships into areas under Taiwanese control.
China has strenuously warned against such a visit, and said its military would “not sit idly by” if it were to happen, Reuters reported Aug. 1. On July 31, as The New York Times reported, a Chinese air force spokesman, without specifying dates, said his country’s “fighter jets would fly around Taiwan to demonstrate its ability to defend its territory.”
China’s government did not say it would shoot down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plane. The statement came from a commentator for a Chinese newspaper.