TOKYO, August 2. /TASS/. Eight F-15 jet fighters took off from the Kadena Air Base, located in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, ahead of the expected visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, NHK reported Tuesday.
In addition, five tanker aircraft took off from the base and headed south together with the fighter planes.
Pelosi’s plane took off from Malaysia and headed towards Taiwan, circumventing the South China Sea from the Indonesia and the Philippines’ side, according to Flightradar24.com. The aircraft, call sign SPAR19, is currently above the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines Archipelago and is heading directly towards Taiwan. According to the Taiwanese media, Pelosi is expected to arrive in Taipei with an unannounced visit at about 22:34 local time.
The visit plans were met with sharp reaction from China, which considers Taiwan a part of its territory, and caused an escalation of tensions in the region. Beijing warned Washington repeatedly that, should the visit take place, China will not leave it without consequences and will take harsh measures.