It finally happened on August 2! The atmosphere before the visit of US House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan was all charged up, nothing short of a nail-biting drama. After all, it was the first visit of a US House Speaker to Taiwan in 25 years.
A few days before the visit Chinese President Xi Jinping had warned United States President Joe Biden that “those who play with fire will perish by it”. Hu Xijin, special commentator and former editor-in-chief of Chinese Government tabloid Global Times, went as far as to suggest that the Chinese Government should shoot down Pelosi’s plane. “Our fighter jets should deploy all obstructive tactics. If those are still ineffective, I think it is okay too to shoot down Pelosi`s plane”, he wrote on Tweeter.
He had to delete the tweet as his account was blocked by the microblogging site citing violation of platform’s policies. Last year, in a post on Weibo, China’s own micro-blogging site, the People’s Liberation Army’s (Chinese military) Eastern Theater Command wrote that it was prepared to “bury any invading enemy”.
A statement published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China, on August 2, criticised the US leaders for, “violating principles and commitments made under China-US joint communiques i.e. not seek a ‘new Cold War’; not seek to change China’s system; the revitalisation of its alliances is not against China; not support ‘Taiwan independence’; not look for conflict with China”
The tensions flared up as China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and it views visits by any foreign government official as recognition of the island’s sovereignty. However, Taiwan considers itself an independent nation.