Mrs. Pelosi, the highest-ranking U.S. official in a quarter-century to visit the island, which Beijing claims as part of its territory, is set to meet Wednesday with Taiwan President
-wen and legislators in the self-ruled democracy.
The plane carrying Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers departed from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday afternoon and took a roundabout route that appeared designed to avoid transiting the South China Sea, where Beijing has an established military presence. The plane landed in Taipei at 10:44 p.m. local time.
China’s military responded with a show of force. The People’s Liberation Army sent an unspecified number of Russian-made Su-35 fighter jets “flying across the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television reported minutes ahead of Mrs. Pelosi’s arrival.
In Taipei, the words “Welcome to TW Speaker Pelosi” were displayed on the facade of Taiwan’s tallest skyscraper, Taipei 101.
The closely watched Asia tour has raised tensions between China and the U.S., with Beijing’s diplomats and the People’s Liberation Army repeatedly threatening responses should Mrs. Pelosi go through with the visit. China’s Foreign Ministry warned of potentially “disastrous consequences” if Washington mishandles the situation between China and Taiwan.
“No matter for what reason Pelosi goes to Taiwan, it will be a stupid, dangerous and unnecessary gamble,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said earlier Tuesday. “It is difficult to imagine a more reckless and provocative action.”
China is conducting more military exercises off its coast this week, adding to drills that began during the weekend. Live shelling was planned from Monday through Thursday in the Bohai Sea off China’s northeastern coast, notices posted by Chinese maritime-safety authorities show. Another set of exercises was set from Tuesday to Saturday in waters just east of the southern island province of Hainan.
The Pentagon has added to the naval forces operating in the region as a deterrent. The aircraft carrier USS
which last week was ordered to leave a port call in Singapore, was in the Philippine Sea with its accompanying ships plus the amphibious assault ship the USS Tripoli, defense officials said Monday.
The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, which oversees military forces positioned closest to Taiwan, published a roughly 2½-minute video on social media Monday evening that depicts Chinese air, sea and land forces training and firing missiles. “Ready and waiting, doing battle on command,” the social-media post said. “Bury all incoming enemies.”
U.S. officials had…