Thousands of domestic flights in China were canceled ahead of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, sparking speculation that the CCP may have been clearing airspace for military activity.
On Tuesday, August 2, Xiamen Airlines announced it was adjusting its schedule of some flights, citing “affected by traffic control” as a reason, in Fujian, just about 186 miles from Taiwan. Thirty flights were rescheduled in the morning, and 20 more were added to the list in the afternoon. The news went viral with many people’s comments, including: “I’m sorry Pelosi is not here.” and “If Pelosi doesn’t come, it won’t be forgivable in light of this welcome.”
Meanwhile, domestic flights that regularly use the southeast coastal route were shifted inland, yicai.com reported, citing information from aviation information platform Flightradar24.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Lanzhou, a city in northwest China home to several air force bases, reported an 84 percent cancellation rate on Tuesday at the city’s international airport.
While the reasons behind the widespread flight adjustments remain unclear, tensions are flaring between the U.S. and China. Pelosi said in a statement on Twitter that the delegation’s visit “honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”
Global and regional attention has been focused on the event. According to Global Times, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday, “What I can tell you is that the U.S. will be held responsible and pay the price for hurting China’s sovereignty and security interests.”