The US House speaker could use “emergency excuses” to touch down on the island, according to the Global Times paper
The plane carrying US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could try to land in Taiwan despite the self-governed island not being among the officially announced destinations of her Asian tour, Chinese state-run paper the Global Times has warned.
“It is still possible that Pelosi wants to make a risky and dangerous move by trying to land at a Taiwan airport with emergency excuses like an aircraft fault or refueling,” the English-language outlet wrote on Sunday, citing Chinese analysts.
Due to such a risk, “the Chinese military patrols, radar detections and relevant drills should still keep at high alert in coming days,” the paper added.
However, the Global Times pointed out that if Pelosi “really has emergency problems… the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft can provide protection to her plane and let her land at airports in China’s Sansha city, Hainan Province in the South China Sea, or other airports in the Chinese mainland, which could provide professional services and assistance.”
But this will only happen “as long as the speaker’s plane stays away from China’s Taiwan,” it added.
Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949, but never officially declared independence from China, with Beijing considering it a part of its territory under the One-China policy.
Despite agreeing with the One-China policy on paper, the US maintains strong unofficial ties with the island of 23.5 million, selling weapons to Taipei and backing its push for sovereignty.
Beijing, which has been increasingly concerned by those contacts, has reacted angrily to media reports that Pelosi, who is third in line to the US presidency, could make an unannounced trip to Taiwan.
China has threatened the US with “unbearable consequences” in case the speaker’s visit goes ahead, with some analysts going so far as advocating the use of force against the island in response to the “provocation.”
However, Taiwan was absent from the list of destinations of her tour of Asia that Pelosi announced on Sunday. “High-level meetings” are scheduled to take place in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, she wrote on Twitter.