Taiwanese defense officials have canceled the leave of some soldiers and officers “to immediately prepare” for the chance of war in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Asia this week, according to local reports.
China warned early Monday that its military would not “sit idly by” if the House speaker visits Taiwan during her trip this week, echoing similar comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping last week that the United States should not “play with fire.” Pelosi is expected to stop in Taiwan during her visit this week, although the island is not listed on her itinerary.
“Her stature as the No. 3 U.S. official means a trip would be highly sensitive,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters Monday. “As to what measures, let’s wait and see whether she insists on this visit.”
If Pelosi travels to Taiwan, she’ll be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made the trip in 1997. It’s not clear when Pelosi will arrive in Taiwan, but the House speaker is expected to stay there overnight, officials told CNN.