Air Force plane probably carrying Nancy Pelosi heads to Taiwan, taking a long route around the hotly contested South China Sea

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

  • A US Air Force plane was over Southeast Asia on Tuesday, possibly carrying Nancy Pelosi.

  • Flight records showed the jet was following a circuitous route that could take Pelosi to Taiwan.

  • The prospect of a visit infuriated China, which claims Taiwan as its own and is trying to isolate it.

A US Air Force plane on Tuesday followed a trail over Southeast Asia that is increasingly resembling a route to Taiwan.

US officials have emphatically avoided confirming widespread reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be visiting there.

But the Air Force plane and its route, which apparently dodges the disputed South China Sea, closely match the reported details of the trip.

Southeast Asia flight map appears to show Nancy Pelosi heading to Taiwan

A map, based on FlightRadar24 data, showing the estimated route of a United States Air Force aircraft on August 2, 2022, seemingly toward Taiwan.Insider

The prospect of a high-ranking US politician like Pelosi visiting Taiwan has enraged China, which claims the island as its own territory, rejects its independence and works aggressively to isolate it from potential allies.

This map shows China’s claim to the South China Sea, which gives the Air Force jet flight path a wide berth, even though it is much longer than a direct route.

9 Dash Line South China Sea Skitched

A map depicting China’s title claim in the South China Sea.CSIS/David Choi/Business Insider

In deference to China’s position, the US and other Western countries only conduct unofficial diplomacy with Taiwan and have for decades avoided sending high-level delegations there. Pelosi’s visit would be a big change.

According to tracking site FlightRadar24, an Air Force Boeing C-40C with the call sign SPAR19 took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday. That was the last confirmed location for Pelosi, who was halfway through a tour of Asia.

Numerous media outlets reported Monday that Pelosi was indeed on his way to Taiwanwith a Taiwanese outlet specifying an arrival time of around 10 p.m. local time, which would suit Pelosi’s flight path.

According to FlightRadar24, SPAR19 had flown over Indonesia and turned north towards Taiwan at approximately 8:00 PM local time. The site crashed repeatedly as the flight progressed while some 300,000 people followed the movement.

Such a path avoids the contentious area of ​​the South China Sea, which China claims as its own and has heavily militarized.

The US rejects those claims and routinely sends naval ships there, but perhaps didn’t want to annoy China by sending Pelosi’s plane over its waters.

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin tweeted that he was told by sources that the course was chosen to evade security threats.

China has threatened military retaliation in response to the visit.

Read the original article Business Insider

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