PLA will not sit idly by if Pelosi visits Taiwan island, Chinese defense ministry warns; indicating PLA ‘fully prepared’ for all scenarios
Published: Jul 26, 2022 10:09 PM
Tan Kefei

Tan Kefei

After the Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that China had made sterner warnings to US officials and China is fully prepared for any eventuality over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's planned Taiwan trip on Monday, the Chinese Defense Ministry on Tuesday vowed that if the US insists, the Chinese military will by no means sit idly by and strong measures will be taken to thwart any external interference and "Taiwan independence" separatist attempts.

Chinese analysts said the strong warnings from the Chinese military meant that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is well prepared for all the possible challenges if Pelosi visits the island, and they advised the PLA Rocket Force to conduct drills with new missiles targeting any possible US aircraft carriers and other large military vessels that may be involved in Pelosi's visit.

Tan Kefei, a spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defense, said on Tuesday that if Pelosi, as the No.3 US politician, visits Taiwan, it will be a serious violation of the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and it will seriously damage China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the political basis for China-US relations. It would certainly cause severe damage to bilateral military relations and lead to escalating tensions across the Taiwan Straits.

China demands the US to fulfill its commitment of not supporting Taiwan secessionism and not arrange Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Tan said, noting that if the US persists, the Chinese military will by no means sit idly by and will take strong measures to thwart any external inferences and "Taiwan independence" secessionist attempts and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Tan's remarks indicate that PLA is fully prepared for all responses if she does visit the island," Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The New York Times reported on Monday that internal worries have sharpened in recent days, as the Biden administration quietly tries to dissuade Pelosi from going through with the proposed visit.

The reports describe a scenario that China could send aircraft to "escort" her plane and prevent it from landing if she visits Taiwan, possibly on a US military aircraft, and a US official said the scenario is a legitimate concern.

Hu Xijin, a commentator for the Global Times, said that he expected to see PLA's aircraft flying together with Pelosi's plane into the airspace of Taiwan island. That would set a great precedent for the PLA to patrol above the island, which would be far more meaningful than Pelosi's visit.

Sooner or later, the PLA's aircrafts will enter the airspace above Taiwan in a legitimate and righteous move to manifest China's sovereignty over the island. To do this, we need an opportunity which could prompt the international community to better understand the mainland's move is natural rather than a provocation. Pelosi's potential visit to the island will lead to major changes on the situation in the Taiwan Straits, and PLA's strong reaction is in line with the expectation of the international community and the visit will offer PLA a good reason to send aircraft over the island, Hu said.

So, the ball has come to Pelosi and the Biden administration that is cooperating with her and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on the island. We have to make full preparations this time for a showdown to them. If they dare to take a small step, we will take a major step to fiercely crack down the US and the DPP's arrogance and provocation, Hu said.

Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times that the US executive branch is very worried that this potential visit will cause a conflict to break out between China and the US, or even trigger a crisis.

"Pelosi doesn't care that she might make a big mess of US-China relations, because the executive branch and the military will be the ones forced to take the consequences and deal with the aftermath," he said.

Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that he believes Pelosi has seen clearly that those incited her to go to Taiwan are mostly Republicans who only want to create more chaos in the US so they can get more gains in the midterm elections.

No matter how divided the US politicians are on the issue, one thing for sure is that the Chinese mainland will by no means make any concessions on the issue, and the response will not just target Taiwan but also the US, as European politicians and Japanese politicians may want to follow the US, Yuan Zheng, deputy director and senior fellow of the Institute of American Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Yuan advised the Chinese government to sanction Pelosi and her immediate family members if she visits Taiwan, banning them from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao and that companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China.

He said the similar measures against US former secretary of state Mike Pompeo were effective.

Song said he believes the Chinese military should declare the entire Taiwan island as PLA's drill zone intercepting all unauthorized planes flying in the zone if Pelosi visits the island.

Meanwhile, the PLA Rocket Force could conduct drills with new missiles targeting any possible US aircraft carriers and other large military vessels that may be involved in Pelosi's visit, Song said, noting the drills could be conducted in areas surrounding Taiwan island from the east side.

In 1995 and 1996, in response to then Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui's visit to the US challenging the one-China policy, the Chinese mainland conducted exercises that included testing missiles in waters surrounding Taiwan.

Now the PLA Rocket Force is much stronger than it was, indicating that it could do a lot more, Song said.