Taiwan confirms Pelosi’s visit. Will Xi put his tail between his legs?
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry confirmed information about Nancy Pelosi’s visit. Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, is visiting Taiwan on August 2, Zhongshi Xinwenwang publication said, citing a source in the Foreign Ministry.
Pelosi will reportedly arrive on the island at around 10 p. m. local time (17:00 Moscow time). Officially, Taiwan’s presidential palace still refrains from commenting. At the same time, member of parliament from the Kuomintang party, William Zeng, also confirmed Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
According to local media, Pelosi will be staying at Grand Hyatt in Taipei, with 48 rooms booked for her delegation. The next morning after her arrival, she will visit Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan. At 8:50 local time, a US Congressional delegation will meet with Taiwan’s Legislative Assembly Speaker Yu Si-kun. The leaders of Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties are also invited to the event.
The same day, Pelosi will meet with the head of the Taiwanese administration, Tsai Ing-wen. According to TVBS, the American politician is scheduled to have lunch with Tsai, after which she will visit the National Museum of Human Rights, dedicated to the memory of the victims of White Terror (persecution of opposition during the Kuomintang rule).
Pelosi will be the first speaker of the US House of Representatives to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Pelosi’s visit is expected to last until 5:00 p. m. local time. Afterwards, the American politician will travel to South Korea.
Call sign SPAR19 aircraft, on which Pelosi previously traveled in Asia and which she had departed from Malaysia a few hours earlier, changed its course and turned north towards Taiwan, FlightRadar24 service said.
Shortly after the plane changed its course, many complained of problems when accessing the FlightRadar24 website. It was later said that the website was hacked.
It remains unknown whether Pelosi is on board this particular airplane. Earlier it was reported that the American politician may fly to Taiwan on another special aircraft (call sign SPAR20), which had previously flown to Kuala Lumpur from Japan.
China readies for military action
In anticipation of Pelosi’s visit, China has stepped up military activities in coastal areas. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been moving its forces to Fujian province, separated from Taiwan by the strait.
Launchers for Chinese DF-16 short-range ballistic missiles were seen in the province. This missile is capable of carrying up to three warheads, including nuclear ones, and its range reaches 800-1000 kilometers. The distance between Fuzhou, the provincial capital of Fujian, and Taipei is 257 kilometers.
At the same time, China holds large-scale military exercises in the region. Due to the maneuvers, over 50 flights to Fujian were rescheduled. After SPAR19 special aircraft changed its course, Chinese fighter jets flew over the imaginary boundary line in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the Chinese mainland from the island of Taiwan.
US media reported that the White House tried to dissuade Pelosi from traveling to Taiwan, fearing a Chinese reaction. Nevertheless, the politician did not abandon her plans. Now the Biden administration is trying to convince Chinese colleagues that neither the American leader nor military advisers could affect Pelosi’s actions.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan may come as a political set-up for Chinese President Xi Jinping on the eve of his re-election for a third term. The visit is supposed to show Xi’s weakness to China’s political class. Biden helps Chinese elites weaken Xi. Xi Jinping can not react harshly to the visit as he does not want a conflict to spark. At the same time, he can not accept Pelosi’s visit itself, because this will make him look weak as a political figure. Xi has repeatedly stated that China was showing power during his presidency. For the time being, those statements appear to be just words.
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