Pelosi’s Potential Taiwan Trip has US Military Scrambling


Over the course of the last several months, China has become increasingly agitated on the subject of Taiwan – a self-governing island nation that Beijing seems to think belongs to them.

In fact, even the slightest international comment to the contrary seems to get Beijing to throw a temper tantrum, threatening any and all nations who would recognize their sovereignty.

This belligerence has reared its ugly head again this week, as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to suggest that she may visit Taiwan in the coming weeks.  China has proclaimed that there could be severe consequences for such a trip, and this has US military officials preparing for the worst.

Nancy Pelosi hasn’t said if she’s going to Taiwan, but if she does she’d be entering one of the world’s hottest and most contentious spots. While U.S. officials say they have little fear that Beijing would attack the U.S. House speaker’s plane, they are aware that a mishap, misstep or misunderstanding could endanger her safety. So the Pentagon is developing plans for any contingency.

Officials told The Associated Press that if Pelosi goes to Taiwan — still an uncertainty — the military would increase its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region. They declined to provide details, but said that fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide overlapping rings of protection for her flight to Taiwan and any time on the ground there.

Any foreign travel by a senior U.S. leader requires additional security. But officials said this week that a visit to Taiwan by Pelosi — she would be the highest-ranking U.S. elected official to visit Taiwan since 1997 — would go beyond the usual safety precautions for trips to less risky destinations.

The armed services weren’t messing around, either.

Asked about planned military steps to protect Pelosi, D-Calif., in the event of a visit, U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that discussion of any specific travel is premature. But, he added, “if there’s a decision made that Speaker Pelosi or anyone else is going to travel and they asked for military support, we will do what is necessary to ensure a safe conduct of their visit. And I’ll just leave it at that.”

Pelosi, should she choose to go, would be the highest ranking US official to visit Taiwan in over two decades, after Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited back in the 1990’s.