United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi can potentially visit Taiwan tonight amid warnings from both Washington D.C. and Beijing. While the itinerary that her office sent out did not make any mention of this visit, recent reports seem to suggest otherwise. The Chinese government has also turned to high-gear mode, saying that the visit, if materialized, will be a “reckless” move on Pelosi’s part.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said, “The US should give up any attempt to play the Taiwan card”, and also accused the US administration of siding with “separatist forces”. Another spokesperson from the ministry, Zhao Lijian, said that China is keeping a close watch on the situation and that the People’s Liberation Army “will never sit idly by” if push comes to shove. She went on to add, “China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

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Pelosi’s visit to Asia kicked off yesterday, with the veteran lawmaker first landing in Singapore. Pelosi is currently in Malaysia where she is set to meet the country’s Prime Minister and its Parliament Speaker.

Global Times, China’s state-affiliated media, has also reported that the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command has begun “joint live-fire assault drills on Tue near the SW and SE of the island of Taiwan” in response to US and Taiwanese provocations. Reportedly, warships, fighter jets, and anti-submarine warfare aircraft were used in said drills.

In the meanwhile, Taiwan has begun taking measures to safeguard its residents, creating air-raid bunkers in case Chinese missiles are launched against the northwestern Pacific Ocean island.

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Notably, the Taiwan Strait is among the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and any impact on the same, military or otherwise, might have repercussions on the world economy.

Anthony Blinken, United States’ Secretary of State, however, has shifted the entire blame on the Chinese government, saying, “And so if the speaker does decide to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that would be entirely on Beijing”.