U.S. military plans for Pelosi to travel to Taiwan

Sydney (AP) — US officials say China is little afraid to attack Nancy Pelosi’s plane if Nancy Pelosi flies to Taiwan. But the Speaker of the House of Representatives will be one of the hottest places in the world where accidents, failures, or misunderstandings can jeopardize her safety. That’s why the Pentagon is planning for contingencies.

Officials told The Associated Press that when Pelosi went to Taiwan (still uncertain), the military would increase the movement of troops and assets in the Indo-Pacific region. Although they refused to provide details, fighters, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems were used to provide her flight to Taiwan and a ring of protection that would always overlap on the ground there. He said it was likely.

Traveling abroad by senior US leaders requires additional security. However, officials said this week that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan (she will be the highest-ranked official in the United States to visit Taiwan since 1997) is for a trip to a less risky destination. He said it would go beyond the usual safety precautions.

US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked during his visit about military measures planned to protect Pelosi and said discussions on certain trips were premature. But he added, “If Chair Pelosi or someone else decides to travel and they seek military assistance, we need to ensure the safe implementation of their visit. And I’ll leave it as it is. “

China considers autonomous Taiwan to be its territory, increasing the likelihood of forcibly annexing Taiwan. Despite recognizing Beijing as the Chinese government, the United States maintains informal and defensive relations with Taiwan.

This trip is being considered when China escalated what its US and Pacific allies described as a dangerous one-on-one conflict with other troops to claim its broad territorial claims. Incidents include harassment or obstruction of aviation and ship crew, including dangerously close fly-bys that turn other pilots to avoid collisions, or dazzling lasers and water cannons. ..

US Defense Secretary Erie Ratner said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies forum in the South China Sea on Tuesday that such operations had taken place dozens of times this year alone. China has denied the case.

A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security issues said a buffer zone needed to be created around the speaker and her plane. Since the United States is already heavily dispersed throughout the region, security enhancements can be largely handled by assets already in place.

The military also needs to be prepared for any incident, even in the air or on the ground. They said the United States needed rescue capabilities nearby and suggested that helicopters could be included in ships already in the area.

D-Calif’s Pelosi has not publicly confirmed any new plans for a trip to Taiwan. She was scheduled to go in April, but she postponed her trip because she tested positive for COVID-19.

The White House on Monday declined to consider the issue directly, saying she did not confirm the trip. But President Joe Biden expressed her concern about it last week, telling reporters that the military considers her trip “not a good idea for now.”

Pelosi’s trip could approach the first four-month conversation between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for Thursday. Prior to the official announcement, US officials confirmed plans to call the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

U.S. officials said the government suspected that China would take direct action against Pelosi himself or attempt to block his visit. However, they do not rule out the possibility that China will escalate provocative overflights of military aircraft within or near naval patrols in Taiwan’s airspace or the Taiwan Strait if a trip is made. And, as a sign of strength, they do not rule out China’s actions elsewhere in the region.

Security analysts disagreed on Tuesday about the extent of the threat during travel and the need for additional military protection.

Peroshi’s greatest risk during his travels was that China’s military show of force was “a kind of accident resulting from a demonstration of failed or provocative behavior,” said Deputy Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center. Mark Kozad, who serves, said. RAND Corporation “So it could be a mid-air collision. It could be some kind of missile test, and again, you know when you’re doing that type of thing. Increasingly, there is always the possibility that something will go wrong. “

Barry Pavel, director of the Atlantic Council’s Strategy and Security Scowcroft Center, ridiculed US authorities’ reported considerations for aircraft carriers and fighters to ensure speaker safety. “Obviously, the White House doesn’t want speakers to go, and I think that’s why you’re getting some of these suggestions.”

“She’s not going to go with the fleet,” Pavel said.

They also said the presence of US troops strengthened to protect Pelosi risked increased tensions.

“… Attempts to prevent the transmission of signals that are significantly different from the ones we are actually trying to transmit are very possible,” Cozad said. “And you … go into some sort of escalating spiral, where our deterrent attempts are actually considered more and more provocative, and vice versa. And that’s it. It can be very dangerous dynamics. “

On Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing had repeatedly expressed a “solemn position” on the possibility of a visit to Pelosi. He told reporters that China was ready to “take solid and powerful steps to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Millie said this week that the number of Chinese aircraft and ship interceptions with the United States and other partner forces in the Pacific region has increased significantly over the past five years. He said Beijing’s army has become much more aggressive and dangerous, and the number of unsafe interactions is increasing at a similar rate.

These include reports that a Chinese fighter that flew very close to Canada’s aviation security patrol last month had to turn to avoid a collision, and other Chinese crew members in late May. Metal scraps sucked into the engine of an airplane.

U.S. officials say the prospect of interception or military show of force by Chinese aircraft near Pelosi’s flight has raised concerns, urging the need for U.S. aircraft and other assets nearby.

The USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group are currently active in the Western Pacific and called at Singapore over the weekend. The strike group includes at least two other naval vessels and Carrier Air Wing 5, which includes F / A-18 fighters, helicopters, and surveillance aircraft.

Prior to pulling into Singapore’s port, the strike group was active in the South China Sea. In addition, another naval vessel, destroyer USS Benfold, has given her freedom of navigation in the region, including the passage through the Taiwan Strait last week.


Nick Meyer reported from Washington.