Reuters, July 30, Beijing – After Twitter disabled his account, a well-known Chinese commentator claimed that he had removed a message that threatened military reprisal should American fighter jets accompany House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on any trip to Taiwan.
Pelosi, who is third in line to become president of the United States after Vice President Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, hinted on Friday that she would be traveling to Asia.
She didn’t mention Taiwan, but rumors that she may visit the Beijing-claimed, democratically run island have grown in recent days, escalating tensions beyond the Taiwan Strait.
In a phone discussion with Biden on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a warning, saying that Washington should uphold the one-China principle and that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” View More
“I’ve conveyed the message: if the U.S. military sends fighter jets to escort Pelosi to Taiwan, then the move would take the vile nature of such a visit to another level, and would constitute aggression,” wrote Hu, a former editor-in-chief of the official tabloid Global Times, on China’s microblog Weibo.
Hu, a nationalist firebrand with a sizable Twitter following, stated that if Pelosi went to Taiwan, “All obstructive techniques should be used by our fighter jets. I believe shooting down Pelosi’s plane is also acceptable if such measures are still insufficient.”
Hu claimed that in order to unlock his barred Twitter account, he had to erase the offending tweet, which Twitter had determined required the account holder to do.
A request for comment from Reuters did not receive a response right away from Twitter.
When asked about a potential trip to the island by Pelosi on Friday, a White House national security official stated that the country has seen no indications of impending Chinese military action against Taiwan.
Washington, which does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is required by law to give the island the tools to defend itself, and Beijing are at odds over U.S. officials’ visits to Taiwan.
A U.S. aircraft carrier is currently traveling through the South China Sea as part of what the U.S. navy described as a routine patrol as part of the country’s extensive military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. View More
Ryan Woo reported; William Mallard edited.
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