Taiwanese defense officials have canceled the leave of some soldiers and officers “to immediately prepare” for the chance of war in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Asia this week.

 95th founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), in Beijing (photo credit: REUTERS)
95th founding anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), in Beijing (photo credit: REUTERS)


US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to visit Taiwan on Tuesday, three people briefed on the matter told CNBC, despite growing Chinese threats that have put Taiwan on high alert.

Taiwanese officials told CNN that she is expected to stay in Taiwan overnight, although It is yet unclear when exactly Pelosi will land in Taipei.

Pelosi is also scheduled to visit Taiwan’s parliament on Wednesday morning before continuing her Asia trip, according to The Liberty Times, a Taiwanese media outlet. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it had no comment on reports of Pelosi’s travel plans.

Taiwanese defense officials have canceled the leave of some soldiers and officers “to immediately prepare” for the chance of war in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Asia this week, according to local reports.

People’s Liberation Army

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will “not sit idly by” if Pelosi follows through on her planned visit, Chinese foreign ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned during a Chinese foreign ministry regular briefing on Monday.

Zhao added that because of Pelosi’s status as the “No. 3 official of the US government”, a visit to Taiwan, which China claims sovereignty over, would “lead to egregious political impact.”

“We would like to tell the US once again that China is standing by, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao told reporters, when asked about the fallout from Pelosi leading a congressional delegation to Taipei.

“As for what measures, if she dares to go, then let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

The PLA has issued another warning to Nancy Pelosi ahead of her expected trip to Taiwan, publishing a video simulating a missile strike, aircraft carriers advancing and fighter jets in formation on social media.

The video, which was posted on WeChat on Monday morning, followed Chinese claims that if the US House Speaker will arrive in Taipei on Tuesday night, they could shoot her plane down and launch a military response.

In the run-up to Monday’s PLA founding anniversary, the Chinese military conducted “live-fire exercises” near the Pingtan islands off Fujian province, according to the official Xinhua state media agency. The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the area.

Chinese state media personality Hu Xijin also issued a stern warning to Pelosi, “Let her go to Taiwan. But pray before departure: wish herself a safe journey and wish herself not be defined by history as a sinner who starts a spiral of escalation process expanding military frictions to a large-scale war in the Taiwan Strait.”

US preparations

US officials, particularly in the US military, had warned about the trip due to safety concerns amid high tensions with China, with the US Defense Department working to ensure around-the-clock monitoring of Chinese movements in the region during the House Speakers Asia trip, according to a US statement.

US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, also told reporters on Monday that the speaker “will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan,” stressing that Congress is independent of the White House.

“Congress is an independent, co-equal branch of government, the decision is entirely the speaker’s. This is very much precedent in the sense that [a] previous speaker has visited Taiwan. Many members of Congress go to Taiwan, including this year,” Blinken said, alluding to Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich’s visit in 1997.

Blinken added that “We are looking for them[China], in the event she decides to visit, to act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”

Pelosi released an itinerary for her trip over the weekend that included stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. Speculation quickly grew as to whether the House speaker would visit Taiwan, prompting warnings from Chinese media figures of “severe punishment.”

As reported by The Jerusalem Post