Chinese communist mouthpiece says to ‘pray’ for Pelosi’s safety in Taiwan

Arriving in Taiwan on Tuesday as the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-governing island, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has defied the government in Beijing to such an extent that a well-known Chinese political commentator suggested that prayers for her safety would be wise, as the Washington Examiner notes.

Hu Xijin, a former journalist for state-run outlet Global Times, tweeted on Monday about the Democrat lawmaker’s anticipated travel, “Let her go to Taiwan. But pray before departure: wish herself a safe journey and wish herself not be defined by history as a sinner who starts a spiral of escalation process expanding military frictions to a large-scale war in the Taiwan Strait.”

Those were not Hu’s only threatening comments toward the speaker’s rumored itinerary in recent days, tweeting late last week, “If U.S. fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is [an] invasion. The [People’s Liberation Army] has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the U.S. fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction,” adding, “[i]f ineffective, then shoot them down,” as the New York Post noted.

The rhetoric from Hu continued on Saturday in the form of yet another warning for the American legislator, namely, “If Pelosi really visits Taiwan as planned, the Tsai Ing-wen authorities are accomplice. The mainland will definitely carry out severe punishment actions on Taiwan at the same time. The unbearable consequences will fall on Tsai authorities,” according to the Washington Examiner.

Undeterred, however, Pelosi touched down on the island as expected, prompting the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to publish a blistering statement accusing the speaker of damaging American relations with Beijing and providing a boost to the “separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence,’” as Fox News reported.

“This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. Joint communiques,” the statement read, adding, “[i]t has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. Relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“No country, no forces and no individual should ever misestimate [sic] the firm resolve, strong will and great capability of the Chinese Government and people to defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity and to achieve national reunification and rejuvenation. China will definitely take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the U.S. Speaker’s visit,” the government insisted.

For her part, Pelosi put the Taiwan stop in the context of a larger push she says highlights the fact that “the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” and in a Washington Post op-ed, she stated flatly, “we must stand by Taiwan,” adding “[i]t is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats,” as the Associated Press noted.

Xinhua News reports that the Chinese army would be conducting live-fire drills from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7 in the waters surrounding Taiwan, and with Taiwanese military officials canceling soldiers’ leave in order to “immediately prepare” for possible conflict in the aftermath of Pelosi’s visit, it remains to be seen whether the speaker’s journey will indeed provoke the type of frightening response Hu and others have been promising.