China issued another direct threat Monday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to make a trip to Taiwan.
The People’s Liberation Army said they “won’t sit idly by” if Pelosi sets foot in Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, according to Bloomberg.
“Her stature as the No. 3 US official means a trip would be highly sensitive,” Zhao said at a Beijing press briefing. “As to what measures, let’s wait and see whether she insists on this visit.”
Several reports have said Pelosi may visit Taiwan as early as Tuesday and may meet President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. The White House announced Former Pentagon press secretary John Kirby will join press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during Monday’s briefing, as the speaker is expected to visit Taiwan amid the ongoing threats by the Chinese government, RealClear Politics reporter Philip Wegmann said.
John Kirby joining @PressSec in briefing today, White House announces, as Speaker Pelosi expected to visit Taiwan despite Chinese threats.
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) August 1, 2022
Pelosi would be the most senior official to visit since 1997, when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traveled to Taiwan.
The People’s Liberation Army also posted a video Monday on WeChat, a Chinese instant messaging and social media app, of military soldiers, tanks and missiles being launched into the sky. (RELATED: China Promises ‘Forceful’ Response If Pelosi Goes Through With Taiwan Visit)
NOW – China’s People’s Liberation Army just posted a new video on WeChat ahead of Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan.pic.twitter.com/QaiFcdGCn1
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 1, 2022
The Chinese Army urged citizens in a Friday social media post to “prepare for war” if the Speaker arrives in Taiwan, vowing a “forceful” response. Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesperson Senior Colonel Tan Kefei previously said her visit would violate the One China principle and “severely endanger China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“We must bear in mind the fundamental responsibility of preparing for war and charge on the journey of a strong army,” the 80th Group Army posted.
China’s threats of imposing a no-fly zone over Taiwan and preparing for war has mobilized the Pentagon to escalate security measures and troop movements in the Pacific ahead of the Speaker’s trip, fearing increased tensions between the U.S. and China.
Jean-Pierre refused to comment on the potential threats or any “hypothetical” ahead of Pelosi’s trip at a Friday press briefing. The press secretary reacted to a Friday tweet by Hu Xijin, a former editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-owned Global Times, claiming the People’s Liberation Army has the right to “forcibly dispel” Pelosi’s transportation and U.S. fighter jets by firing warning shots and “making tactical movement of obstruction.”