The upcoming visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island of Taiwan as part of her tour of the Indo-Pacific region has put the military of China, Taiwan and the United States on high alert.
The Boeing C-40C used to transport Pelosi, callsign SPAR19, took off from Kuala Lumpur (SZB) in Malaysia on August 2, 2022, at 15:42 local time. At the time this article was published, the aircraft was circumnavigating the South China Sea. Though it cannot be confirmed if Pelosi is onboard, she is expected to arrive in Taiwan later in the day, the Taiwanese Central News Agency reports.
Earlier in the day, the authority of China’s Fujian region, opposite Taiwan, announced massive flight cancelations because of airspace flow control. Local air carrier Xiamen Airlines announced that over 50 flights would be delayed on August 2, 2022, because of air traffic control.
While no official reason was given for the disruption, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been conducting intense military drills off Taiwan Strait, starting on July 30, 2022, with a live-fire exercise near Pingtan Island.
Ahead of the 95th anniversary of its creation on August 1, 2022, the PLA released promotional footage showing the launch of a DF-17 hypersonic system from a land-based platform.
In what has become an almost daily occurrence over the past few months, Shenyang J-16 fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on August 1 and 2, 2022, grazing the southwest point of the median line splitting the strait between the island country and the continent.
Warships belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) also navigated around the strait, a source told Reuters.
Reiterating the words of China’s president Xi Jinping during a call to his US counterpart Joe Biden, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said on August 2, 2022, ”those who play with fire will eventually get burned.”