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Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit: China warns US of military action, Taipei gets ready

On the eve of Pelosi's Taiwan visit China has again cautioned the US it "will pay the price" if she lands in Taipei even as Taiwan says it is "preparing to face a war." She is likely to stay overnight and meet President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday.

Taiwan military is put on highest alert till Wednesday as Taipei expects Pelosi lands by Tuesday night at 10 pm (7:30 pm IST). China has stepped up patrolling the Straits and its fighters are airborne. There are war-like preparations in Taiwan. The citizens are being trained how to respond in case of air raids. Bunkers are ready.

NEW DELHI, Aug 2: Even as Nancy Pelosi arrived in Malaysia on her second leg of an Asia tour on Tuesday, China has upped the ante warning that the US "will pay the price" if she visits Taiwan. On the other hand, Taiwan says it is "preparing for war" and is making ready air raid shelters. China had earlier warned it will shoot down Pelosi's plane if it enters Taiwan.

Taiwan military is on highest alert till Wednesday as Taipei expects Pelosi stops over by Tuesday night at 10 pm (7:30 pm IST) while China has stepped up patrolling the Straits and its fighters are airborne. There are war-like preparations in Taiwan. The citizens are being trained how to repond in case of air raids. Bunkers are ready.

Taiwan has ordered all subways, underground spaces and parking will be used as bunkers in case of any air raids from China.

She is likely to stay overnight and meet President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday. But there is no official confirmation. After Singapore and Malaysia, her itinerary includes stops in South Korea and Japan also.

The US has not reacted to the Chinese war cry despite there is an escalation of tension between China nd Taiwan. The US has never categorically said it will militarily intervene in case of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan but it will provide arms.

When she kicked off her tour on Sunday heading first to Singapore it was reported that she had changed the plan dropping the Taiwan leg from her itinerary. There was no final word. However, it appeared on Tuesday that she will make the trip. She is expected to visit South Korea and Japan too.

John Kirby, coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, told reporters on Monday that the Speaker had not confirmed any travel plans, "and it is for the speaker to do so, and her staff." As per the separation of powers under the Constitution, the Congress is independent of the Government. A Speaker has visited Taiwan earlier also: Newt Gingrich went to Taiwan in 1997.

Pelosi is on the Asia tour on her own as Speaker of the US House of Representatives and the US administration or the foreign office has officially nothing to do with that although the Secretary of State has stated that in the event of any Chinese misadventure the US will be respond.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it would be "a gross interference in China's internal affairs" if Pelosi stop over in Taiwan. He also, like President Xi when he had a summit with Biden last week, warned of "very serious developments and consequences." Xi had told Biden the US is playing with fire and will get burnt. Zhao said he Chinese People's Liberation Army will never sit idly.

In Singapore, Nancy Pelosi met Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday.

China affirms unification

"The (Asia) trip will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region," Pelosi's office had said. There was no mention of Taiwan and there is nothing unusual about it.

The Speaker in the US is the second in line of succession to the all- powerful seat in the White House after the Vice-President.

China affirms that the unification with mainland will be achieved. It claims now self-ruled Taiwan as its territory while Taiwan has asked for more arms from the US to defend its independence and democratic rights as a nation being threatened perpetually by the mainland China. And the US has promised. Since 1949 the island, now of 23 million people, has governed itself after the Chinese civil war.

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