(NewsNation) — The USS Ronald Reagan — a nuclear-powered supercarrier — was seen sailing in the South China Sea on Friday amid rising tension between America and China regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s upcoming trip to Asia, which could include a visit to Taiwan.
The U.S. Defense Department says deployment of the aircraft carrier and its strike group was planned and routine, but the Chinese are claiming the U.S. is flexing its military might and is threating peace between the two countries.
In response, China’s state media is now saying if U.S. fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, China will consider it an invasion, even threatening to shoot the fighter jet down.
China currently views acknowledgement of Taiwan as a recognition of Taiwan’s democratically elected government, which China opposes as they view Taiwan under their “one-China principle.”
“No one should underestimate the determination and ability of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Geng Shuang said of the United States’ relationship with Taiwan at the United Nations security council Friday.
The White House, however, continues to insist the House Speakers’ trip is hypothetical, as Pelosi prepares to leave for her multi-day trip around Asia and Southeast Asia on Friday.
As of right now, confirmed stops include Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.
“I’m very excited should we go to the countries you’ll be hearing about along the way,” Pelosi said Friday to the press.
Today, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said the Speaker doesn’t need their approval to travel overseas and that it is routine to provide military aircraft.
Additionally, the White House said Friday they haven’t seen any physical indications of any unexpected military action from China, adding the rhetoric coming out of China is “unnecessary.”
Retired U.S. Army veteran, Major General William Enyart, agrees.
“I seriously doubt they’ll shoot down a U.S. fighter plane if it entered Taiwan airspace,” Enyart said while speaking on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.” “The Taiwanese airforce has as a very competent fighter component and if the security folks felt it was necessary, I’m sure the Taiwanese can throw a few fighters up to escort her,” he continued.
The threats, however, should be taken seriously, as China’s President Xi warned on a call with Biden Thursday that the U.S. should not “play with fire” with regard to Taiwan.
Also on Friday, Wang Yi, who is China’s foreign minister, says a visit to Taiwan by Speaker Pelosi would challenge China’s red line, and any challenge to the red line would be met with “resolute countermeasures.”