Tensions are high in China ahead of House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s expected visit to Taiwan on Tuesday, with several Chinese warplanes flying close to the median line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
Chinese warships and aircraft “squeezed” the median line on Tuesday morning, an unusual move described by one Reuters source as “very provocative”.
Neither side’s aircraft normally cross the median line.
The development comes as China has repeatedly issued warnings over Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Over the weekend, Ms Pelosi departed Washington with a group of five other House members for a Congressional visit to the Indo-Pacific, with news reports saying this will include an overnight stay in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.
Ms Pelosi’s plans include visiting Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, her office has said publicly.
Although Ms Pelosi’s public comments did not mention Taiwan, a visit to the island is set to occur at some point during the trip, according to reports by CNN, the Financial Times and others.
The visit would be the first by a House speaker since then-speaker Newt Gingrich went there in 1997.