With US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s expected visit to Taipei, China and Taiwan are now on high alert. In what could be its most serious warning yet, China has said that the US will “pay the price” if Pelosi visits the island state.
In anticipation of the visit, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s two aircraft carriers are said to have left their respective homeports, state-owned media Global Times reported. In contrast, the US Carrier Strike Group, led by USS Ronald Reagan, is reportedly sailing near South-East Taiwan.
The PLAN aircraft carrier Shandong departed from Sanya, South China’s Hainan Province, on August 1, accompanied by a Type 075 amphibious assault ship, according to reports in Taiwanese media on Tuesday. The aircraft carrier Liaoning left its homeport in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, on July 31.
Latest: Both of aircraft carriers of the #PLA Navy have reportedly moved out from their homeports respectively amid #Pelosi's possible visit to the island of #Taiwan, which media reported could happen Tuesday evening. @globaltimesnews pic.twitter.com/glVUBuvJWF
— libijian李碧建 (@libijian2) August 2, 2022
According to Taiwanese local media, the Liaoning and Shandong can attempt to move in opposite directions and encircle the island of Taiwan to dissuade Pelosi.
Meanwhile, social media erupted with the news of nine H-6K strategic bombers of the PLA Air Force performing a long-range strike after being escorted by the Su-35 warplanes. Hong Kong-based journalist Ryan Chan posted a photo of the nine bombers flying in formation.
Some other accounts posted a video of the bombers, allegedly of the 8th Bomber Division of the PLA Air Force. Many users, including Chan, acknowledged that the video could mix old and new footage.
However, the bombers could be seen flying what was believed to be the Taiwan Strait. EurAsian Times could not independently verify these reports.
As part of PLA's surprise exercise, H-6K bombers carry out bombing in the South China Sea, escorted by Su-35 Fighters pic.twitter.com/phrenN1q2h
— Húrin (@intel1osint100) August 1, 2022
The H-6 bombers have intruded Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on previous occasions, along with other aircraft. In the run-up to Pelosi’s rumored visit, four PLA J-16s entered Taiwan’s ADIZ on August 1, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.
According to Reuters, on August 2, several Chinese warplanes flew close to the median line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
The report, citing a source, also said that Chinese warships and aircraft “squeezed” the median line, an unusual move that the source described as “very provocative.”
China’s Belligerence On Display
In a phone call with US President Joe Biden on July 28, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the US about the gravity and importance of the Taiwan question.
“Public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this,” Xi Jinping said.
China’s warning and resistance to US military and political assistance for Taiwan are based on the One China principle that the United States is expected to adhere to.
However, the US has not only increased its military assistance to Taiwan but also officially rejected China’s belligerence against the self-ruled island.
PLA Eastern Theatre Command began night-time mock drills in what could be seen as a warning and military power projection. On August 1, the Command also released a video showing advanced weapons and hot-blooded training scenes, according to Global Times.
Xiamen, #Fujian today!
1. China is sending multiple rocket launchers to Fujian
2. The Air traffic in the area has been regulated to enable fighter movement
3. The PLA carried out live fire drills last night#Taiwan #China #Pelosi pic.twitter.com/5Ow6Ob6NlH
— Saikiran Kannan (@saikirankannan) August 2, 2022
The DF-15B ballistic missile, the PHL-03 multiple rocket launcher, and the J-20 stealth fighter jet are just a few of the cutting-edge weaponry that may be seen in training or live-fire exercise operations in the video clip.
Most of the clip shows frontline troops being called up to attack targets, ballistic missiles, and tactical rockets destroying “enemy structures.”
On July 31, the night before the 95th anniversary of the foundation of the PLA, CCTV news aired another video footage showing multiple Su-30 fighter jets soaring into the sky in the direction of the training airspace after surviving simulated hostile anti-aircraft firepower at low altitude.
The fighter jets then reportedly received a surprise order to leave training mode and enter full battle readiness to inspect an unidentified air situation.
Naval aviation brigade pilot Tang Feilong of the PLA Eastern Theater Command said that they employed the onboard equipment and technical methods to find the target and promptly flew toward it to drive it away.
EurAsian Times had earlier reported that China released a video of what appeared to be a DF-17 missile launch for the first time, just before the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) 95th founding anniversary on August 1 and before Nancy Pelosi’s speculated visit.
China Central Television (CCTV) presented a documentary on July 30 called “The capabilities of the Chinese army revealed in 81 seconds”. In response to the special broadcast, the Chinese experts said the video showed the adaptability of the nearly impossible-to-intercept “aircraft carrier killer” weapon.
While these actions point to a concerted effort by China to dissuade the US, some Chinese experts have suggested that the Chinese warplanes should intercept Pelosi’s aircraft.