Hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) departed Taiwan, Chinese missile strikes surrounded the island as part of the largest military drills ever in the region. Officials close to U.S. Intelligence told Fox News China could invade Taiwan within the next 18 months. The officials said 2024 could be a potentially dangerous year with both the U.S. and Taiwan holding presidential elections.
“What is different now is, we have intelligence that this has gone from an indefinite, nebulous scenario, to a belief that there is a window of opportunity in the next 18 months,” the official said.
China has remained strongly against the Pelosi trip since it was first rumored. China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the visit in a press conference following Pelosi’s departure.
“If these countries really care about peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, they should have persuaded the United States not to engage in dangerous, reckless and irresponsible provocations against China,” spokesperson Hua Chunying said. “Before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, they pretended to be deaf and silent, but now they jumped out to criticize China’s just actions, exposing their hypocrisy and ugliness.”
The tone was different in the White House’s press briefing held after Pelosi’s trip. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated its recognition of the One China Policy.
“The United States will not seek and does not want a crisis here, but we are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do,” Jean-Pierre said.
As the Chinese military drills went on, Pelosi continued her trip abroad in South Korea and Japan Thursday, where there was no mention of her time in Taiwan. In South Korea, Pelosi met with National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo and other senior members of Parliament on Thursday. After that hour-long meeting, Pelosi spoke about the bilateral alliance, forged in blood during the 1950-53 Korean War, and legislative efforts to boost ties.
“When we talk about security, and when we talk about economics, when we talk about governance, it’s the same thing. It’s about fighting the pandemic, its about saving the planet,” Pelosi said Thursday. “So many things to discuss, so much opportunity better served by, especially, in an interparliamentary way.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.