The House of Representatives Speaker is expected to visit Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, as part of her tour of Asia. This is in spite of warnings from China, including one from the ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, who said the country’s military “will not sit idly by when it comes to safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Taiwan has itself said it “warm welcomes” foreign guests ahead of the expected visit.
But Beijing claims it as a province which it is working to “reunify”.
Belarusian news agency NEXTA reported that: “Taiwan is preparing eight French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jets to escort Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan’s airspace.”
It later added that China’s Foreign Ministry had reiterated Xi Jinping’s determination to respond harshly if the visit did go ahead.
A Chineses Government propagandist last week suggested Beijing’s military could attack the plane carrying Mrs Pelosi if it was escorted to Taiwan.
In a now banned tweet, quoted in Insider, Hu Xijin, a commentator with the Chinese-state-owned Global Times, wrote: “If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is [an] invasion.
“The [People’s Liberation Army] has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction.
“If ineffective, then shoot them down.”
China said today it has been in communication with the United States over Mrs Pelosi’s expected visit.
As her plane headed to Taipei, four US warships, including an aircraft carrier, were positioned in waters east of the island.
These were said to have been on “routine” deployment.
It has not just been China warning against the visit, but US officials too.
CNN last month reported that national security officials were working to convince Mrs Pelosi of the risks of her (then) potential visit.
The paper noted: “Administration officials have shared their concerns not only about Pelosi’s security during the trip, but also worries about how China may respond to such a high-profile visit.”
Reports this morning suggest UK officials are also now preparing to visit Taiwan later this year.