After Twitter blocked his account, a prominent Chinese commentator named Hu Xijin stated on Saturday that he deleted a tweet in which he threatened military retaliation should United States fighter jets accompany House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on any visit to Taiwan. In the tweet, Hu Xijin warned that military retaliation would be taken if Pelosi traveled to Taiwan. Pelosi, who is third in line for the presidency of the United States of America after Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, gave indications on Friday that she will be traveling to Asia as part of her upcoming duties. She did not bring up Taiwan, but in recent days there has been an increase in rumors that she will visit the democratically ruled island that is claimed by Beijing. This has contributed to an increase in tensions beyond the Taiwan Strait.
During a phone chat with Vice President Biden on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a warning that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” This warning was about Washington’s obligation to uphold the “one-China principle.” On China’s microblog Weibo, Hu, who formerly served as the editor-in-chief of the state-run tabloid Global Times, wrote: “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.” A fiery nationalist who has a large following on Twitter, Hu said that if Pelosi were to visit Taiwan, “Our fighter jets should deploy all obstructive tactics. If those are still ineffective, I think it is okay too to shoot down Pelosi’s plane.” Hu stated that he needed to delete the tweet to unlock his Twitter account, which had been locked because the tweet was deemed by Twitter to have violated the rules of the platform and needed to be removed by the account holder.
When questioned about the possibility of Pelosi traveling to Taiwan, a representative for the White House’s national security office responded on Friday that the United States had not seen any evidence suggesting that China was about to take military action against Taiwan. It is a source of tension between Beijing and Washington that officials from the United States travel to Taiwan. Although the United States does not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
The United States maintains a significant military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the region surrounding the South China Sea, which is now being transited by a United States aircraft carrier as part of what the United States navy has described as a routine patrol.