FirstFT: China steps up threats over possible Pelosi visit to Taiwan

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China has stepped up his threats of Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan this week and naval exercises in the region just hours before the speaker of the US House of Representatives is expected to arrive in East Asia.

Pelosi’s office announced that a congressional delegation led by the speaker departed on Sunday for Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. The statement did not confirm if Pelosi will follow through with his plans to visit Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims is an integral part of its sovereign territory, and if so, when.

The purpose of the trip, which has further strained fragile Sino-US relations, is “to reaffirm America’s strong and unwavering commitment to our allies and friends in the region,” Pelosi’s office said. The six-member delegation includes the heads of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees.

Last week, during their first video call since March, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Joe Biden that the US was “playing with fire” by not stopping visits by US delegations, which the Chinese government regards as “intervention by external forces.” in their internal affairs.

On a Chinese social media site on Saturday, Hu Xijin, an outspoken former state media editor, said, “It’s okay. [for the People’s Liberation Army] shoot down Pelosi’s plane” if he is escorted to Taiwan by US fighters.

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