China issued a scathing condemnation of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday after it sent fighter jets buzzing the Taiwan Straight.
Chinese state media station TV CGTN reported that SU-35 fighter jets flew over the disputed sea between the two countries, hours before Taiwan’s Speaker of the House fell just before 11pm local time on Tuesday.
China’s foreign ministry issued a furious statement calling the visit “extremely dangerous” and saying the US was “playing with fire”, according to the AFP news agency.
“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” the statement from Beijing said.
Ms. Pelosi landed at Taiwan’s Songshan Airport in Taipei on a US military flight from Malaysia along with a congressional delegation on Tuesday night.
The visit has fueled tensions between the two superpowers.
China had repeatedly warned the House Speaker against traveling to Taiwan, while US officials said he would not be intimidated by a “rattling”.
Along with dispatching fighter jets to the Taiwan Strait, Chinese warships “crammed” into the median line dividing the disputed waters, a source said. Reuters.
The source said the aircraft had carried out routine maneuvers before returning to the Chinese mainland as Taiwanese aircraft stood by. Reuters mentionted.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post to coincide with her arrival, Ms. Pelosi wrote that the US had made a “formal pledge” to support Taiwan’s defense.
“Today, America must remember that oath. We must stand with Taiwan, an island of resilience,” Ms. Pelosi wrote.
“We cannot remain indifferent as the (Chinese Communist Party) continues to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself.”
China has bought $2 billion worth of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets in recent years, according to Reuters.