• China has never before declared a no-fly zone over Taiwan despite tensions 
  • Beijing has warned the U.S. of strong countermeasures if Pelosi visits Taiwan
  • President Biden had said the military thinks Pelosi's trip is not a good idea

The U.S. is concerned that China may impose a no-fly zone over Taiwan and send jets into the island's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi goes ahead with her planned Taipei visit.

Declaring a no-fly zone over the island by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) would be an unprecedented military escalation. Despite the heightened tensions over the decades, China has never resorted to such a move over the self-ruled island.

A report by CNN, quoting unnamed U.S. officials, said the Chinese actions could "potentially raise tensions even further in the region." Sending fighter jets could also trigger a response from Taiwan and the U.S., the official said, but refrained from providing details about how the U.S. would respond.

After it emerged that Pelosi has been planning a trip to Taiwan soon, China issued a stern warning, saying Pelosi's Taiwan visit would seriously violate the one-China principle and harm China's sovereignty and the political foundation of China-U.S. relations.

"If the U.S. insists on going its own way, China will take strong countermeasures. We mean what we say," Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a media briefing Thursday.

The Chinese-state-backed newspaper Global Times too published an opinion piece that said the PLA warplanes could likely "accompany" Pelosi's plane at an appropriate distance, enter Taiwan at the same time as she does, skim over her landing site, and then fly over the island and return to the Chinese mainland.

However, President Joe Biden later said that the military thinks Pelosi's trip is not a good idea right now.

According to Col. Dave Butler, Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman, the military "in general" briefs decision-makers on military assessments. Butler told CNN that the department talks about what the adversaries may do and other logistical and readiness details.

Pelosi too has refused to give more details about her trip, citing "security issues." On Biden's remark, Pelosi said: "I think what the President was saying is that maybe the military was afraid of my plane of getting shot down or something like that. I don't know exactly."

Meanwhile, a Global Times report, quoting observers, said "the Biden administration has clearly received China's message about a possible diplomatic and military response, which could be something the U.S. is not able to afford."

"As Biden said that the U.S. military thinks "It's not a good idea," then it means he has consulted the case with the Pentagon," Lü Xiang, an expert on U.S. studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

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House speaker Nancy Pelosi has planned a visit to Taiwan in the coming days. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / CHIP SOMODEVILLA