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The United States military is making preparations ahead of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Taiwan.
While the speaker’s trip to the nation of Taiwan remains unconfirmed and without a hard timeframe, Chinese officials have already taken issue with the idea.
The U.S. military is prepared for every contingency and would increase its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region.
Officials told The Associated Press that fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide overlapping rings of protection for her flight to Taiwan and any time on the ground there.
China’s government warned last week it would take “forceful measures” if Pelosi visited Taiwan after the Financial Times reported she would travel to the Chinese-claimed island nation next month.
The island of Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, is just off the coast of Asia’s mainland. Taiwan has declared itself independent of the People’s Republic of China and has claimed continuation of governance from pre-revolutionary China.
The People’s Republic of China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. The Chinese military has frequently sent planes into the area, testing Taiwan’s air defense zone.
The United States does not have official relations with Taiwan but has been stepping up engagement with the island as China seeks to isolate it from global institutions.
The former chief editor of the Chinese Communist Party’s state tabloid, the Global Times, suggested the country detain and punish Pelosi for visiting Taiwan.
Pelosi and her delegation would also visit Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore and spend time in Hawaii at the headquarters of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the London paper added, citing people familiar with the matter.
“The question of Taiwan is the most sensitive, important core issue in China-U.S. relations,” Ambassador Qin Gang said at the Aspen Security Forum. “China loves the peace people on both sides of Taiwan Strait. Our compatriots.
The Aspen Security Forum fireside chat focused on the elevated tensions over the past two years between the U.S. and China over Taiwan, particularly with an increase in high-level U.S. visits to Taipei and more Chinese military flights and exercises around Taiwan’s space.