It is still not clear if Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will travel to Taiwan.
Pelosi has not confirmed the trip publicly. Reports say she had planned to go in April but postponed the visit after tests showed she was infected with COVID-19.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry warned about a possible visit after reports about it became known. He said such a move could be met with “forceful responses.”
U.S. officials say they have little fear that China would attack Pelosi’s airplane if she were to travel to Taiwan. But officials with the U.S. Department of Defense told the Associated Press that the department would take extra security measures if Pelosi does go.
The U.S. military does not want to provide details to reporters. But it said it would increase the movement of forces to the Indo-Pacific area. Such forces would include fighter jets, ships and military systems for observing and protection.
Any foreign travel by a top U.S. leader requires additional security measures. Officials said this week that a visit to Taiwan by Pelosi would be the highest-level U.S. official to visit the island since 1997.
U.S. General Mark Milley is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said on Wednesday that it is too early to discuss possible travel plans. But he said, “If there’s a decision made that Speaker Pelosi or anyone else is going to travel and they asked for military support, we would do what is necessary to ensure a safe conduct of their visit.”
China considers self-ruling Taiwan to be its own territory. The United States does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan but continues informal relations and defense ties. The U.S. formally recognized the government of mainland China in 1979.
The trip is being considered during a period of increased tension between China and the U.S. and its allies.
Ely Ratner is a U.S. assistant defense secretary for the Indo-Pacific area. He recently told a policy group there have been too many incidents this year between the Chinese military and U.S. or allied forces involving aircraft or ships that raise concerns.
The administration of President Joe Biden has not directly spoken about the matter. Last week, Biden told reporters that the military thinks the trip is “not a good idea right now.”
Biden plans to hold a telephone call on Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It will be the first discussion between the leaders in about four months. During their last call, Taiwan was a subject of discussion. It took place weeks after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
I’m Dorothy Gundy.
Mario Ritter Jr. adapted this Associated Press Report for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
conduct –n. the way that something is supervised or directed
ensure –v. to make sure something happens
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