Taiwan airport prepares air defense – media
Taiwan’s Songshan Airport, where US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to arrive on Tuesday, has removed the camouflage covers from anti-aircraft guns located near the runway, Taipei newspaper Liberty Times reports.
The weapons in question are 35-millimeter surface-to-air anti-aircraft guns which can be used to shoot down hostile drones and loitering aerial ammunition. The paper also reports that radar systems near the airport have also been placed on high alert.
The news comes as several media outlets have claimed that Pelosi’s plane is already headed from Malaysia towards the self-governing island and is expected to land at Songshan Airport at 10:44pm local time, according to FlightRadar.
China has repeatedly warned that Pelosi’s arrival would be seen by Beijing as a “gross interference in China’s internal affairs” and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that some US politicians are “openly playing with fire” and blasted attempts by Washington to artificially create an incident in the Taiwan Strait.
If Pelosi “dares” to travel to Taiwan, “the [People’s Liberation Army] will not sit idly by” and will take “resolute and strong countermeasures” to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned on Monday.
As tensions continue to escalate, several Asian news outlets have reported increased military activity by both Beijing and Taipei across the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Independent has reported that US Navy ships have also been dispatched to the region on “routine deployments.”
The White House has yet to confirm Pelosi’s stop in Taipei, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken has insisted that the “decision is entirely the Speaker’s” and that the administration doesn’t know what Pelosi intends to do.