Taiwan Airports Face Bomb Threat Ahead of Potential Nancy Pelosi Visit
Taiwan’s major airports received nine threats, including bomb threats, on Tuesday alone in anticipation of a reported, but yet unconfirmed, visit by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to the island nation this week, the country’s Liberty Times reported.
Anonymous reports, later corroborated on the record by individuals with knowledge of the situation, have for weeks predicted that Pelosi would stop in Taiwan as part of a greater Asia trip.
Pelosi herself confirmed stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, but has yet to confirm a visit to Taiwan, although the airplane that she is rumored to be on at press time appears to be landing in Taipei. Pelosi spent Monday meeting with leaders in Singapore.
Hundreds of thousands of people are reportedly tracking the plane, a Boeing C-40C, on flight tracker sites. The flight reportedly verified on Tuesday morning Eastern time that it would land in Songshan Airport in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital.
Taiwan is a sovereign free state off the shores of China. The United States does not officially recognize Taiwan as a country due to former President Jimmy Carter changing that policy to appease China. Beijing claims Taiwan as a rogue “province” and falsely identifies its sovereign government as a “separatist” organization that has illicitly seized control of the island. The Chinese Communist Party bans any diplomatic relations with a country that recognizes Taiwan, or the Republic of China, as a sovereign entity, under a policy it calls “One China.”
Taiwan’s “One China” policy states that the Republic of China, based in Taipei, is the world’s only legitimate Chinese government.
Pelosi, second in the line of succession for the presidency, potentially visiting Taiwan has alarmed the Chinese regime, prompting its top propagandists to threaten to abduct Pelosi or shoot her plane out of the sky.
“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion,” Chinese regime commentator Hu Xijin posited on Twitter – a site regular Chinese citizens are banned from using – last week. “The [People’s Liberation Army] has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them.”
No such event has occurred at press time.
The Liberty Times reported, however, that anonymous criminals, presumably supporters of the communist regime, have phoned in various threats in the past 24 hours to Songshan Airport and Taoyuan Airport. The newspaper, citing the Taiwanese Civil Aviation Administration, stated that all threats appeared to come from “abroad.” Taiwanese officials have reportedly set up “response teams” and heightened security presences in both locations in response to the threats.
“The Ministry of Transportation stated that at 9:10 this morning [Taiwan time], an unknown person left a message … threatening to deploy 3 bombs to detonate in the airport,” the Liberty Times relayed. Songshan Airport service desks also received multiple calls claiming that “bombs had been placed in the trash cans” inside the airport, the newspaper claimed.
Channel News Asia confirmed that Taoyuan Airport received at least one bomb threat on Tuesday, “but so far, nothing suspicious has been found on the premises.”
Taiwanese media outlets confirmed a separate virtual attack on the official website of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday, shutting it down temporarily.
Liberty Times, citing unnamed sources, reported on Tuesday that Pelosi is expected to arrive in Taiwan on Tuesday night and deliver an address to the nation’s legislature on Wednesday. The Legislative Yuan, it claimed, had “rolled out the red carpet in the evening and is ready to welcome the distinguished guests.” Pelosi is leading a larger delegation of American Congressmen to the country.
The Taipei Times, the English-language sister newspaper of the Liberty Times, published a similar potential itinerary for Pelosi.
Perhaps most conspicuously giving away that Pelosi is set to arrive in Taiwan, Taipei 101, the tallest building in the country, lit up on Tuesday night local time with a message welcoming the speaker reading, in part, “thank you.”
The potential visit has alarmed the Chinese Communist Party, which has spent much of the past month threatening Pelosi in various ways. On Monday – the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – the communists staged nationwide military drills and showcased alleged “aircraft carrier killer” weapons that appeared to be intended to threaten any American military assets in the region to protect Pelosi. The state-run Global Times newspaper explicitly tied the military displays to reports of Pelosi visiting Taiwan.
The Taiwanese government responded by preparing for a potential invasion. According to Reuters, Taipei has prepared air-raid shelters throughout the island in case of attack.
“The preparations include designating shelters where people can take cover if Chinese missiles start flying in, not in purpose-built bunkers but in underground spaces like basement car parks, the subway system and subterranean shopping centres,” Reuters detailed on Tuesday. “The capital of Taipei has more than 4,600 such shelters that can accommodate some 12 million people, more than four times its population.”