United States deploys ships and planes near Taiwan as Pelosi eyes visit

The U.S. military is moving assets, such as aircraft carriers and big planes, closer to Taiwan in anticipation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s anticipated but unconfirmed visit to the island.

Although the military initially opposed the speaker’s visit, it now appears that they are setting up a safe haven for her plane in case she decides to proceed with the contentious stop.

But tensions in East Asia have quickly increased, possibly against the wishes of both the U.S. and China, which said it would “never sit quietly by” if she visited the island. President Joe Biden, who wanted to reduce some taxes on Chinese imports to fight inflation, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose extension of his reign is at stake and is facing a delicate domestic political season.

On Tuesday evening, the speaker is anticipated to arrive in Taiwan, according to a correspondent for the local network TVBS.

According to websites that tracked flights, Pelosi and her congressional delegation left Washington in a C-40C military plane, and arrived in Singapore before sunrise on Monday.

On Monday afternoon, the foreign ministry of Singapore issued a statement confirming that the team had met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other senior government figures. The delegation’s dedication to “strong U.S. engagement” in the area was praised by Lee, according to the ministry, and they “also exchanged views on major international and regional topics, including the war in Ukraine, cross-strait relations, and climate change.”

According to the statement, PM Lee “highlighted the importance of stable U.S.-China relations for regional peace and security.”

The city-state serves as the starting point of Pelosi’s trip to the Indo-Pacific region, which will also take them to Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. The speaker has been mum over her alleged travel intentions to Taiwan.

The amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli, which is close to Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which recently made a port call to Singapore, and the amphibious assault ship USS America, which is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, are among the naval assets in the area.

The USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, the USS Essex landing helicopter dock, 36 additional warships, three submarines, and other participants are taking part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), which will culminate on Thursday, in Hawaii.

Flight monitoring services, however, display two HC-130J Combat King IIs, one of which is a U.S. The only dedicated fixed-wing people rescue platform for the Air Force has flown from Anchorage to Okinawa. Multiple KC-135 Stratotankers, aerial refueling planes, were flying alongside them.

Masahiro Matsumura, a professor of international politics and national security at the college of law at St. Andrew’s University in Osaka, said that diplomatic protocol would be crucial if she did decide to visit Taiwan. Other choices could be the de facto U.S. Embassy in Taipei or parliament, but Pelosi visiting Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office will be contentious.

Matsumura said that this was more of a diplomatic issue than a military one and questioned if the Chinese side was militarily prepared for a conflict with the U.S.

Nevertheless, Beijing has been giving alerts about the Pelosi visit every day.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, warned on Monday that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan will result in “extremely dangerous” developments and repercussions.

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