China holds military drills across Taiwan Strait
Beijing issued a warning that live-fire military drills will be held from 8 am to 9 pm local time.
On Saturday, the Chinese People's Liberation Army is holding military drills with a firing exercise in Fujian, a province in the southeastern region of China, across the strait of Taiwan, according to the maritime administration of Pingtan county.
Beijing issued a warning that live-fire military drills will be held from 8 am to 9 pm local time, and the designated maritime area will close down for entry to all vessels.
The Chinese military has been also holding drills on Friday and Saturday in Hainan Strait, which separates the Guangdong province from the island of Hainan as well as near an island close to southern Guangdong.
The military exercises are taking place ahead of the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Liberation Army in China, as well as an upcoming visit of Nancy Pelosi, the US House Speaker, to Taiwan.
Earlier this month, media reported that Pelosi will be visiting Taiwan in August, which prompted Beijing to threaten Washington if the visit were to go through.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in the event of Pelosi's visit, threatened to take decisive measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and warned the US will be responsible for the consequences that will spring from the visit.
Read next: Taiwan conducts drills in "the event of a war"
Pelosi's plane departs to Asia
Today, Saturday, a US air force plane has departed from the United States and is flying towards Asia, according to FlightRadar, which listed a Boeing C-40C plane with registration number 09-0540.
Usually, the C-40C model is used to transport US leaders across the globe, particularly members of Congress, as the air force's website explains.
Just after reaching Hawaii, the flight disappeared from the tracker's platform, rendering the flight untrackable.
According to a source acquainted with the trip, a visit to Taiwan is marked as "tentative," adding that the tour will also include visits to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
US military making plans in case Pelosi travels to Taiwan
Officials in the United States said they have little concern that China will target Nancy Pelosi's plane if she flies to Taiwan. However, the US House Speaker would be entering an area where US-China tensions are on the rise. As a result, the Pentagon is preparing for every situation.
Officials told AP that if Pelosi visits Taiwan, which remains a possibility, the military will expand its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region.
They declined to elaborate but claimed that fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets, and other military systems would most likely be employed to create overlapping bands of protection for her travel to Taiwan and any time she spent on the land there.
Chinese military will not sit back and watch
China's Ministry of National Defense, Tan Kefei, warned on July 26, that the Chinese military will not sit back if US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan. His statement was made in response to a press inquiry regarding the issue.
China demands that the United States keep its promise that it would not support "Taiwan independence," Tan said, adding that if Washington insists on making the visit, the Chinese military will take strong actions to counter any external interference or "Taiwan independence" separatist scheme, and will be determined in safeguarding China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Read next: Cold War Parallels: China-Taiwan Tensions