Taiwan Prepared Air Raid Shelters Fearing Chinese Attack
In recent days, Taiwan has prepared its bomb shelters in the face of fear of an eventual Chinese attackamid growing tension between China and the United States over the tour of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
China regards Taiwan as its territory and has increased military activity in the region’s air and seas in recent days, with Taiwan vowing to defend itself and strengthening its defenses as a priority with regular military and civil defense exercises.
Preparations included the designation of underground spaces –such as underground parking garages, the subway system and shopping malls– where people can take refuge if China decides to attack with missiles.
According to international media reports, the capital of Taipei has more than 4,600 such shelters that can house some 12 million people, more than four times its population.
Pelosi: “We are on the side of Taiwan”
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, published a message in which she reiterated the US government’s support for the Taiwan authorities.
“Our visit reiterates that America stands with Taiwan – a robust, vibrant democracy and our important partner in the Indo-Pacific,” the Democratic official wrote.
China promises “selective military actions” in response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan
China lambasted the “extremely dangerous” actions of the United States on Tuesday, after the arrival in Taiwan of the president of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, which increased tensions between the two superpowers.
“The United States … constantly distorts, obscures and empties the ‘One China’ principle,” said a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, shortly after Pelosi’s plane landed in Taipei. “These actions are like playing with fire, extremely dangerous. And those who play with fire will burn to death,” he added.
The White House affirms that there is no violation of Chinese sovereignty with Pelosi’s visit
The White House assured this Tuesday that “there are no violations or problems of sovereignty” with the visit of the president of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.
The Communications Coordinator of the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, said in an interview with the CNN television network that his country does not support Taiwan independence and that Pelosi’s visit only “reaffirms the policy of a single China”, defended by Beijing.
US “unconditional support” for Taiwan
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, landed in Taiwan on Tuesday, ignoring Chinese threats of retaliation should the visit to the island go ahead.
Television footage showed the 82-year-old legislator upon her arrival at Taipei’s Songshan Airport, where she was greeted by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
A statement from the team of the Democratic leader, from the same party as President Joe Biden, and third figure in the political hierarchy of the United States, indicated that the visit shows the “unconditional support” of the United States for the island and that it “does not contradicts” Washington’s policy towards China.
China lambastes the “extremely dangerous” actions of the US after Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan
The Chinese government reiterated its rejection of the visit of the president of the United States House of Representatives to the island that it claims as its own territory.
Pelosi landed in Taiwan
The plane carrying the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, landed tonight at 10:43 p.m. local time (2:43 p.m. GMT) at Taipei’s Songshan airport.
Neither the official nor the Taiwanese government had confirmed whether Pelosi’s tour of Asia would include a visit to Taiwan, a possibility advanced by US and Taiwanese media.
Chinese military planes cross the Taiwan Strait
Chinese SU-35 military planes are crossing the Taiwan Strait, Chinese state media reported, in response to the flight that would take Pelosi to that territory.
This Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry assured that it is “difficult to imagine a more reckless and provocative action” by the United States than this visit, against which the Chinese Army recently warned that it would not “stand idly by”.
They assure that Pelosi is traveling to Taiwan
The US Air Force plane (SPAR19) in which the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is traveling is heading to Taiwan, where it will land around 10:40 p.m. local time, according to the portal specialized in flight tracking Flightradar24.
Pelosi’s visit, condemned by the Chinese government, has not been officially confirmed and the destination of her flight had remained blank since the senior official took off from Kuala Lumpur.
“The United States will pay the price for undermining China’s sovereignty and security”
in Beijing, The Chinese Foreign Ministry insisted that the United States “will pay the price” if the visit to Taiwan takes place.
China considers Taiwan as part of its territory and a visit by Pelosi to the island as a provocation by the government of President Joe Bidenwho last week was warned by his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that the United States “plays with fire.”
“The United States will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining the sovereignty and China’s security,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing.
Yesterday, the Chinese ambassador to the UN, Zhang Hun, described Pelosi’s visit as “very dangerous, very provocative”, in statements to journalists. “If the United States insists on paying the visit (to Taiwan), China will take firm and strong measures to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
An unconfirmed visit
LThe three largest newspapers in Taiwan stated that Pelosi was expected tonight on the autonomous island after passing through Malaysia, despite warnings from China.
Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang did not confirm the visit today when asked by journalists, but thanked Pelosi for her support. “Any foreign guests and any friendly legislators are very welcome,” Su told reporters.
Russian support for China
The Chinese government received strong support from Russia, which accused the United States of “destabilizing the world” and provoking conflicts.after having blamed Washington for its decision to invade Ukraine for trying to incorporate it into NATO.
“Washington destabilizes the world. Not a single conflict resolved in recent decades, but several provoked,” Maria Zajarova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on the Telegram messaging application, the AFP news agency reported.
The United States has imposed heavy sanctions on Russia and provided weapons to Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion, which it calls “unprovoked” every time it refers to it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the refusal of the United States to accept a Russian demand to stop NATO’s advance towards its borders, including its neighbor Ukraine, was one of the reasons for its offensive, among others.
Washington defends Pelosi tour
The spokesman for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby said that Pelosi has the right to make the visit and accused China of “provocations”.
“You have the right to visit Taiwan,” Kirby told reporters. “There is no reason for Beijing to turn a possible visit, consistent with long-standing US policy, into some kind of crisis,” she added.
Kirby cited intelligence reports that China would prepare “possible military provocations” which could include firing missiles into the Taiwan Strait or “large-scale” incursions into Taiwanese airspace.
The official recalled that Pelosi is traveling on a military plane and that while Washington does not fear a direct attack, it does “raise the risks of a miscalculation.”
He also reiterated that US policy has not changed with respect to Taiwan.
This implies support for the Taiwanese autonomous government while recognizing China above Taiwan and opposing a formal declaration of independence by Taiwan or a forced takeover by China.
Pelosi would be, if her visit goes through, the most senior US official to visit Taiwan since her predecessor Newt Gingrich in 1997.