Officials have stepped up security at Taoyuan International Airport ahead of possible visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, local media says
Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport reportedly beefed up its security measures on Tuesday after it received a bomb threat ahead of the expected visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to news outlet Focus Taiwan.
A threatening letter was reportedly sent to airport authorities on Tuesday morning and claimed that three bombs had been planted on the premises of the airport to prevent Pelosi from visiting the self-governing island. Officials then contacted the Aviation Police Bureau who have since assigned a special team to tighten security at the airport and ensure flight safety.
Pelosi reportedly plans to travel to Taiwan on Tuesday to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen the next day. The official is currently on a tour of the Asian region, visited Singapore on Monday and is expected to hold high-level meetings in Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. A visit to Taiwan was not on her official itinerary ahead of the tour.
China has repeatedly warned that Pelosi's visit to Taiwan would be seen by Beijing as a "gross interference in China's internal affairs" and the country's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian has stated that "the Chinese People's Liberation Army will never sit idly by."
However, an unnamed senior Taiwanese government official and a US official have each reportedly told CNN on Monday that Pelosi was indeed expected to make a trip to the island, which would mark the first time a House speaker has traveled to the self-governed island in 25 years.
The White House has yet to confirm her visit to Taipei, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken has insisted that the "decision is entirely the Speaker's" and that the administration doesn't know what Pelosi intends to do.
Taiwan, which officially calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), has been self-governed since 1949, but never officially declared independence from Beijing.
Despite recognizing Beijing as the sole legitimate authority in China since 1979, the US maintains strong unofficial ties with the island, selling state-of-the-art weapons to Taipei and supporting its push for sovereignty, much to the displeasure of Chinese authorities.