Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States, arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday, defying repeated warnings from Beijing against such a visit, which the Communist Party of China views as a challenge to China's sovereignty.
On Wednesday, Representative Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking United States politician to visit the island, will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan as well as legislators. Beijing asserts that the island is an integral part of its territory.
As Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic members boarded a plane in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday afternoon, the pilot took a roundabout path that appeared designed to avoid flying over the South China Sea, where Chinese military vessels are stationed. The airplane landed in Taipei at the exact local hour and minute of 10:44 p.m.
As a kind of retaliation, the Chinese military put on a show of force. The People's Liberation Army reportedly launched an undefined number of fighter jets built by Russia's Su-35 brand "flying across the Taiwan Strait," as reported by China Central Television, the state-run broadcaster of the People's Republic of China.
Tensions have increased between China and the United States as a result of the carefully monitored Asia tour, with Chinese diplomats and the People's Liberation Army frequently threatening punishment if Mrs. Pelosi continues with the visit. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a warning that the United States could face "disastrous consequences" if they mismanage the current situation between China and Taiwan.
In addition to the military drills that started over the weekend, China is currently conducting more of them this week off of its coast. According to announcements that were posted on Chinese maritime-safety authorities' websites, live shelling was scheduled to take place in the Bohai Sea off the shore of China's northeastern coast from Monday to Thursday. Another series of drills were planned to take place in the waters immediately to the east of the island province of Hainan, which is located in the southern part of China.
The United States Department of Defense has expanded the number of naval forces that are currently operating in the region as a deterrence. According to sources from the Department of Defense, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was spotted in the Philippine Sea together with its following ships and the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli. The aircraft carrier was given orders last week to depart from a port visit in Singapore.
A 212-minute video was uploaded to social media on Monday evening by the PLA's Eastern Theater Command. This command is responsible for the armed troops that are located the closest to Taiwan. The film shows Chinese air, sea, and land forces practicing and firing missiles.
The United States has warned that China may respond to the visit by conducting military maneuvers, launching missiles into the Taiwan Strait or near the island, or sending additional planes and naval vessels to locations closer to Taiwan where they have not previously operated.
The political risk consultancy firm Eurasia Group projected that China's response would be "unprecedented but not unhinged" in a report that was published on Tuesday.
As investors considered the possibility of escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington as speculation built about Mrs. Pelosi's visit, which has not been officially sanctioned by President Biden's administration, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.3%. The value of several corporations that are involved in the defense industry has increased.
Mrs. Pelosi's visit was compared to that of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997 by China's representative to the United Nations on Monday night. The representative stated that Chinese leaders at the time made a mistake by tolerating Mr. Gingrich's visit.
The plan proposed by Mr. Gingrich was initially met with opposition and threats of retaliation from Beijing. On the other side, Mr. Gingrich started off his tour to Taiwan with a high-profile visit to Beijing, where he met with several dignitaries from the Chinese government.
China's air force may track Mrs. Pelosi's jet as it approaches Taiwan, and Beijing may organize military exercises within Taiwan's air-defense identification zone and beyond the Taiwan Strait median line, which acts as a de facto frontier, as suggested by the Eurasia Group.
On various social media platforms in China and around the world, Mrs. Pelosi's whereabouts were being tracked, and discussions about them, were taking place. Many people on Tuesday afternoon used the flight-tracking website Flightradar24 to follow the route of a US military plane that was rumored to have flown Mrs. Pelosi and her delegation to Singapore and then to Malaysia, where they met with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and other senior officials.
As that plane took off from Kuala Lumpur at 3:42 in the afternoon, as many as 300,000 users tracked its path, wondering if it would head north toward Taiwan and speculating that the speaker was on board.
After the tracker showed the plane flying east toward an unknown destination, some people disconnected after seeing it. However, by 9:30 p.m. it had already turned north and appeared to be approaching Taiwan; the tracking website had the Taipei Songshan Airport listed as its next stop.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The Daily Cable.