Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan early Tuesday amidst numerous threats from the Chinese government. Pelosi's visit marks the first time a high-ranking U.S. government official visited the island nation in over twenty-five years.
Nancy Pelosi stated the visit was to show America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy. In the several weeks following her arrival, Chinese officials had claimed retaliatory actions would be committed in the event of a trip.
In an almost two-hour conversation between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, Xi Jinping warned against "playing with fire" if the U.S. continued to neglect the "One-China principle." This principle is the position held by the People's Republic of China (PRC) that there is only one sovereign state under the name China, with the PRC serving as the sole legitimate government of that China, and Taiwan is a part of China.
With Pelosi's arrival, the principle holds almost no effect and asserts Taiwan's independence from mainland China.
China appeared to follow up on its threats after confirming Pelosi's visit. Beijing ordered the PLA (People's Liberation Army) to mobilize towards Xiamen, Fujian Province, the city closest to Taiwan. Reports and video evidence from civilians within the city showed hypersonic missiles moving by train to the coast and armored vehicles, supply trucks, and long-range missiles. These mobilizations portray China's message that, if provoked, would launch an invasion into Taiwan.
Upon Pelosi's arrival, the Chinese government responded by scrambling its top-of-the-line fighter jet, the SU-35, over the Taiwan Strait. Although these jets did not directly threaten the Speaker's arrival, it was a show of force. Since then, the PLA has issued an order to conduct live fire exercises along the coast and sea-waters of Taiwan for four days, essentially surrounding the island nation.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a series of responses on its official Twitter page this morning. One such response was, "If the U.S. insists on following the wrong course of action, then it should be responsible for any serious consequence arising thereof."
Fear of invasion is understandable as the mobilization of the PLA and its surrounding Taiwan reflects the Russian mobilization of its battle groups before the beginning of the war. President Biden, in a speech delivered in May, affirmed the U.S. support of Taiwan. When asked directly if the U.S. would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, President Biden responded, "Yes... that's the commitment we made."