White House says Taiwan to brace for prolonged military provocations from China, civilian flights cancelled in Fujian to make way for possible deployment of military aircraft, bomb threat received at Taoyuan airport

Taiwan military forces conduct anti-landing drills on 27th July 2022.

2nd August 2022 – (Taipei) U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may visit Taiwan late on Tuesday (2nd) and arrive at around 10.30pm after. The military situation on both sides of the strait has intensified. British media quoted sources as saying that several PLA military planes approached the central line of the Taiwan Strait that morning. On the same day, Mainland Xiamen Airlines announced that it adjusted some flights in response to the impact of traffic control in Fujian, which caused speculation. According to the official website of Xiamen Airlines, many flights to and from Fujian were delayed due to traffic restrictions. At least 56 flights at Fuzhou and Xiamen airports were cancelled, including 30 flights at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport and 26 flights at Fuzhou Changle International Airport. The measure affected flights to Beijing, Shanghai and other places. Public opinion speculates that the PLA military aircraft will be deployed in large numbers, so civil aviation must give way.

Liu Xiaoming, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Korean Peninsula Affairs posted a warning ahead of possible Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on his Twitter account this morning:

Ma Hui, Chinese Ambassador to Cuba shared The Joint Communiqué of the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China on his Twitter page.

Meanwhile, the Taoyuan International Airport Corporation in Taiwan received a bomb threat in the morning. The letter stated that “3 explosives will be placed at the airport in order to prevent the Speaker of the US House of Representatives from visiting Taiwan.”

According to The Star, Kuala Lumpur is Pelosi’s second stop after Singapore on Monday before she heads to South Korea and Japan with her tour being closely watched to see if Taiwan is also in her itinerary. The special aircraft carrying Pelosi and her entourage touched down at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang at 10.33am, amid tight security. While in Malaysia, she is expected to pay a courtesy call on Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun at the Parliament building at noon before adjourning for a luncheon meet with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a local leading hotel.

The Chinese website of Radio France Internationale quoted sources several days ago as saying that Pelosi will fly to Taiwan via Clark Air Base in the Philippines on 4th August to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei. It is unknown if she will still first fly to Clark Air Base before heading to Taiwan later today. A commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei will normally take 4 hours and 47 minutes. If she is expected to arrive in Taipei at 10.30pm later today as announced by Taiwanese media yesterday and if she would make a detour to Clark Air Base first, she will need to leave Kuala Lumpur after the luncheon meet with the Malaysian Prime Minister.

The special aircraft carrying Pelosi and her entourage touched down at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang, Malaysia at 10.33am, amid tight security. Upon arrival, Pelosi, 82, in a pink suit, and her delegation were greeted by Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon. Also present was US Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D. McFeeters. Source: The Star.

John Kirby, National Security Council (NSC) coordinator for strategic communications at the White House warned on Monday Taiwan may have to brace for prolonged military provocations from China. Possible military provocations could include firing missiles in the Taiwan Strait or around Taiwan, operations that break historical norms such as large-scale air entry into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), and air or naval activities that cross the median line, according to Kirby.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that a potential visit to Taiwan by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be entirely her decision, but called on China not to escalate tensions in the event of a visit. He also added that “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”.

British media reported that the PLA warships and planes approached the middle line of the Taiwan Strait several times today, and the military planes briefly reached the median line before returning. The actions were unusual and provocative, but they did not cross the median line in the end. Beijing and Taipei respect a median line in the Taiwan Strait, and have generally kept their warplanes and ships from crossing this line. The median line was drawn by the United States when it signed the Mutual Defence Treaty with Taiwan in 1954. 

Meanwhile, according to Taiwan News, four Chinese military planes were tracked in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday (1st August). Four People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shenyang J-16 fighter planes entered the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defence (MND). In response, Taiwan sent aircraft, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defence missile systems to track the PLAAF jets. An ADIZ is an area that extends beyond a country’s airspace where air traffic controllers ask incoming aircraft to identify themselves. Taiwan’s Defence Ministry did not immediately respond.

In addition, Taiwan has reportedly ramped up its military preparedness as cross-strait tensions mount over a potential visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Taiwan’s armed forces will enter a higher state of preparedness against the threat by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) between 8am Tuesday (2nd August) and 12pm Thursday (4th August), according to CNA, citing reliable sources.

The Taiwan military will conduct live-fire drills in southern Pingtung County on 9th and 11th Aug, CNA reported on Monday.

The artillery drills are intended to bolster combat readiness and are being carried out as a follow up to the recently concluded Han Kuang 38 wargames, which were carried out 25th – 29th July. The live-fire exercise will take place at the Fenggang training grounds in Pingtung, according to the report.