Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-run Global Times, on Friday suggested that the People’s Liberation Army shoot down a plane carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan if U.S. fighters escort her to the island.
“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion,” Hu wrote on Twitter. “The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down.”
The communist firebrand, known for his bellicose editorials against the United States and its allies, made his remarks as Pelosi plans to embark on a tour of Asia. Beijing has repeatedly warned the United States that a potential visit to Taiwan by the speaker would hurt diplomatic relations.
The United States military has said a prospective trip by Pelosi to the island is “not a good idea,” while Republican leaders, including Georgia Rep. Austin Scott and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have encouraged Pelosi to move forward with the trip.
Both the People’s Republic of China, headquartered in Beijing, and the Taipei-based Republic of China adhere to the “One-China Principle,” agreeing on the existence of a single, unified Chinese polity including the territories of both governments, though each asserts its own claim to that mantle.
Tensions between the U.S. and China are at an all-time high amid fears the Chinese government is using the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a litmus test for its own operation against Taiwan.