BEIJING, August 1. /TASS/. A plane carrying US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi may try to land in Taiwan under the pretext of an aircraft failure or refueling, the Global Times reported on Monday.
The newspaper pointed out that "It is still possible that Pelosi wants to make a risky and dangerous move by trying to land at a Taiwan airport with emergency excuses like an aircraft fault or refueling," and that "the Chinese military patrols, radar detections and relevant drills should still keep at high alert in coming days".
At the same time, the newspaper said that "Pelosi's plane really has emergency problems during her trip around China, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft can provide protection to her plane and let her land at airports in China's Sansha city, Hainan Province in the South China Sea, or other airports in the Chinese mainland which could provide professional services and assistance, as long as the speaker's plane stays away from China's Taiwan."
As the Global Times notes, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, expressed confidence that the absence of Taiwan from Pelosi's officially announced work trip program means that "she does not dare directly and publicly challenge China." However, he did not rule out that the politician would try to visit Taiwan in between other destinations.
Lu Xiang, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that "no mention of Taiwan [in the annouced plan] could be a result of communication between Pelosi and the White House, the Pentagon and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff." He also noted that "Taiwan is a forbidden zone for Pelosi's plane."
"Therefore, China will still keep the military preparations to stop any surprise move by Pelosi in the coming days, and this will give her no chance to challenge China's sovereignty," the newspaper quoted a Chinese expert on international relations who asked for anonymity.
A delegation led by Pelosi flew to Asia on Sunday to visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Taiwan is not on the list of destinations posted on Pelosi's official website.
Earlier, there were reports in the media that Pelosi, who occupies the third most important post in the US government hierarchy, intended to visit the island in August. It was noted that Pelosi had planned to visit Taiwan back in April, but postponed the trip because of the coronavirus. The visit would have been the first visit to the island by the speaker of the US House of Representatives in 25 years. Pelosi herself has previously declined to specify whether she intended to visit Taiwan during her Asia-Pacific tour.