For what feels like the 12th time in as many weeks, “WWIII” was trending on Twitter Tuesday morning, this time thanks to a bold, (and maybe foolish), decision by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi became the highest ranking US official to visit the nation of Taiwan this week, defying China’s belligerent belief that the sovereign nation is somehow just another territory belonging to Beijing.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., landed in Taiwan late Tuesday evening local time, and she is expected to meet members of Taiwan’s legislature and President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with planning for her visit.
The highly-anticipated stop has faced stark warnings from China, in turn worrying the White House that it could trigger a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and worsen already tense U.S.-China relations. China sent two Su-35 fighter jets across the Taiwan strait ahead of Pelosi’s arrival, according to state broadcaster CCTV, and the spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry said on Twitter, “The US & Taiwan have made provocations together first, whereas China has been compelled to act in self-defense.”
China, who had warned that they may attempt to shoot down Pelosi’s plane, were made to look weak as the House Speaker arrived in Taipei rather uneventfully.
This caused Beijing to rage.
In response to Pelosi’s visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement that said, in part, it was a “serious violation of the one-China principle.” The ministry added, “It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence.'”
It has yet to be seen whether or not China will retaliate with anything more than hyperbole.