PLA warplane can ‘accompany’ Pelosi’s plane if she visits Taiwan
Published: Jul 19, 2022 10:06 PM
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 10, 2020. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 10, 2020. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)

An exclusive report in the Financial Times on Tuesday quoted multiple sources as saying Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, will visit Taiwan in August amid her trip to Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

If Pelosi, a fellow Democrat with US President Joe Biden, visits Taiwan, no one will believe it is because Biden "cannot control her". People are more likely to believe that her visit is part of Washington's tactic of "good cop/bad cop."

As the Speaker of the House, Pelosi is second in the US presidential line of succession according to the US Constitution. Her visit to Taiwan is not only an escalation of US support for "Taiwan independence," but a major incident. It was reported in April that Pelosi would make the visit, but the planned trip to Asia was canceled because she tested positive for COVID-19 then. 

It has been proven that the US will not be reasonable on the Taiwan question, and the only way for China to respond to Washington's provocation is to use resolute countermeasures to make it clear the cost of playing the Taiwan card, which is the only language the US understands. 

Although then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich visited Taiwan in 1997, the travel was seen more as an outward manifestation of the US domestic political bad blood, since Gingrich was a Republican, opposite of then-president Bill Clinton. Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, if takes place, however, would be a blatant challenge to China by the US as a whole. 

I believe that China's countermeasures will be overwhelming, and we will not accept this crude advance of US support for "Taiwan independence," but will clearly tell the US that they are making a subversive mistake. 

As a media personality who has long been watching the situation in the Taiwan Straits, I suggest that China take firm action this time to make sure that Pelosi's visit to Taiwan is scuttled, either she abandons the planned visit out of fear or that her visit becomes a risky trip, leaving both her and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority in Taiwan, who will host her, in a state of panic and with a keen sense of loss. 

When it was reported in April that Pelosi was going to visit Taiwan, I wrote an article advocating that the Chinese mainland should establish a no-fly zone over Taiwan, or the People's Liberation Army (PLA) warplanes should fly over the island. Today, I would like to reiterate the above advocacy. 

I would further suggest that PLA warplanes could "accompany" Pelosi's plane at an appropriate distance, enter the island at the same time as she does, skim over her landing site, and then fly over the island and return to the Chinese mainland. There would be low probability of causing a direct military confrontation by doing so, and once PLA warplanes fly in and cross the island, it would be an even more landmark precedent than Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. In that case, we would probably have to thank Pelosi instead for creating the opportunity for PLA warplanes to fly over the island, opening up a whole new space for PLA warplanes to exercise sovereignty over the Taiwan island. 

The Chinese mainland must be brave enough to take this step of flying warplanes over the island, which, unlike warplanes flight around Taiwan, can truly reflect China's sovereignty over the territory, and is more substantial than any visit to Taiwan by senior foreign officials. Using Pelosi's visit to Taiwan to complete this leap is most likely to make it a peaceful transition. 

Of course, in order for PLA warplanes to fly over the island of Taiwan, we must be fully prepared for military confrontation, and I believe such preparations by the PLA have been ongoing. We have no intention of seeing a war break out in the Taiwan Straits now, but we are undoubtedly the party that is least afraid of a war in the Straits breaking out right now. PLA warplanes will sooner or later fly over the island. If the Taiwan military dare to fire at PLA warplanes, the response will be a resolute action of shooting down the Taiwanese warplanes or striking its military bases. If the US and the island of Taiwan want an all-out war, then the time will come to liberate Taiwan. I advise both the US and the island not to have any illusions. 

Let Pelosi and the Biden administration as well as the Taiwan authorities make their choice. 

The author is a commentator with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn