US officials are increasingly concerned about possible Chinese action on Taiwan.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has grown nervous about China’s rhetoric and actions toward Taiwan this summer, with some officials worried that Chinese leaders could try to move against the sovereign island over the next year and a half. are Access to all or part of the Taiwan Strait, through which US ships regularly pass.

U.S. officials say domestic tensions have intensified in recent days, as the administration quietly tries to block House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from a planned visit to Taiwan next month. Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, will be the first speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997 and has been repeatedly condemned by the Chinese government. Projects reported And threatened to retaliate.

US officials see a high risk of controversy and miscalculation over Ms Pelosi’s trip as Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Communist Party leaders prepare for a key political meeting in the coming weeks in which Mr Xi will reassert his power. I will expand.

Chinese officials have strongly emphasized this summer that no part of the Taiwan Strait can be considered international waters, contrary to the views of the United States and other nations. “China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said in June.

US officials do not know whether China plans to enforce the claim. But Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, who is close to President Biden and frequently deals with the administration on issues related to Taiwan, said China, its military and what Mr. Xi is learning from it have been “paying a lot of attention.” going”. Events in Ukraine

“And one school of thought is that the lesson is ‘go early and be strong’ before there is time to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses,” Mr. Koons said in an interview on Sunday. “And we may be heading for an earlier confrontation — more of a squeeze than an attack — than we thought.”

Chinese officials are aware that Biden administration officials, also applying lessons learned from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are trying to turn their arms sales to Taiwan into a democratic island that some call ” Sahi” says. To prevent the Chinese leaders from trying to invade it.

US officials say they are not aware of any specific piece of intelligence indicating that the Chinese leadership has decided to move into Taiwan soon. But analysts inside and outside the U.S. government are studying to determine when the best time might be for China to take bold steps to weaken Taiwan and the United States.

A central question is how senior Chinese officials view the growing power of the Chinese military vis-à-vis Taiwan, the United States and regional US allies including Japan and South Korea.

General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that Chinese military behavior in the Asia-Pacific region was “significantly greater and significantly more aggressive.”

Chinese officials have condemned frequent visits by senior US officials to Taiwan, which Beijing views as tantamount to formal diplomatic engagement with the island. Ms Pelosi had planned to visit in April but postponed it after her aides said she had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that if the US insists on going ahead, China will take strong and resolute measures to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the US will bear all serious consequences. Regularly scheduled media briefing on Monday.

U.S. officials said plans for Ms. Pelosi’s trip were moving forward despite the growing outcry over it.

Ms. Pelosi will likely fly to Taipei on a U.S. military aircraft, as is common for such trips. Some analysts monitoring China’s condemnation of the proposed visit say China could send planes to “traffick” its plane and prevent it from landing.

U.S. officials said that scenario is a legitimate concern, though unlikely, and that any such move would be seen as a serious escalation by Washington. Officials interviewed for this story spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

Ms. Pelosi said last week that she does not discuss travel plans publicly, but that “it is important for us to show support for Taiwan.”

He became a cabinet member and a top State Department official during the Trump administration. The highest ranking officials of the US administration Visiting Taiwan in a working capacity since 1979, when Washington severed diplomatic ties with Taipei to normalize relations with Beijing. Newt Gingrich was the last Speaker of the House to visit Taiwan 25 years ago.

Mr. Biden when asked by reporters about the proposed visit said last Wednesday that “the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now.” He also said he plans to talk to Chinese leader Mr. Xi in the next 10 days. The two last spoke via video call in March, when Mr Biden warned there would be “implications and consequences” if China provided material aid to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Xi and other top Chinese officials and Communist Party elders are preparing for the 20th Party Congress in the fall, and are expected to hold secret meetings at the seaside resort of Beidai before the official conference in August. Analysts say Mr. Xi will almost certainly break the rules by serving a third term as president and extending his tenure as party secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Susan L. Shirk, a former senior State Department official and author of “Overreach,” said, “The domestic political situation in China right now is extremely tense in the months leading up to the party congress when Xi is slated for an unprecedented third term. Hope to see you.” “One An upcoming book On Chinese politics

“The danger is that Speaker Pelosi’s visit will be perceived, including by the 11 itself, as an affront to his leadership and that he will act somewhat hastily to show his power,” he said. “What’s more, given his recent blunders that have damaged the country and fueled internal conflict — a tough stance on Covid management, alignment with Russia’s war in Ukraine, and on private business. Crackdown – We can’t trust his sanity. His military response to Pelosi’s trip. Better to delay than risk war.

Pentagon and White House officials are in discussions with Ms. Pelosi’s office about the political climate and potential risks of travel. Officials say it is up to them to decide.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at China’s Renmin University in Beijing, said Beijing is aiming for a military response that will be seen as strong, but not so aggressive as to spark a major conflict.

“I don’t think anyone can predict in detail what China will do militarily,” Mr Xi said.

Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a nationalist newspaper published by the Communist Party; wrote on Twitter that Chinese military warplanes could shadow Ms. Pelosi’s plane and enter Taiwanese-controlled airspace over the island. He also said China’s actions would amount to “a shocking military response”.

Analysts say China could be less provocative. For example, it could send aircraft across the median line in the middle of the strait separating China and Taiwan, as it did in response to a 2020 visit by then-US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. what was

Chinese fighter jets have crossed the line and flown into the island’s air defense identification zone with increasing frequency since 2020.

On Monday, a spokeswoman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry, Juan Ou, said Taipei had not received any “certain” information about Ms. Pelosi’s visit.

Officials and lawmakers from Taiwan’s two main political parties have welcomed any such visit by the speaker.

“Speaker Pelosi has many admirers in Taiwan, and her visit will be a strong statement of American support for Taiwan’s democracy,” said Alexander Huang, the Washington representative of the opposition Kuomintang party.

Many in Taiwan fear that if the visit is cancelled, it will give Beijing the impression that its intimidation strategy is working.

In Washington, some Republican lawmakers have publicly urged Ms. Pelosi to go ahead with the trip while taking a stand against China.

Ivan Kanapathi, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and China director at the National Security Council under Presidents Trump and Biden, said canceling the visit would help Washington strengthen Taiwan’s ties with other democracies and raise its profile. Scaling efforts may suffer. At international organizations and venues.

“A big part of why China is concerned about what the US is doing is because we open up space for others,” Mr Kanapathi said. “And that’s what China is really worried about the most – more legitimacy for the Taiwanese government in the international community.”

Some analysts say there are less risky ways to show support for Taiwan. For example, Washington could send a top military officer, or sign a bilateral trade agreement, that could help the island reduce its economic dependence on China.

US military officials say that a sea and air attack on Taiwan today will be difficult for the People’s Liberation Army to repel. If China moves against Taiwan earlier than expected, it may do so, perhaps first by emphasizing its recent announcement on the status of the Taiwan Strait and a limited operation to gauge Washington’s response. By doing Another theory is that Beijing may try to seize an outlying island off China’s coast.

U.S. officials say it is unlikely that the Chinese government has decided what, if any, operation to conduct. But it’s a theme that’s regularly replicated and played out in Washington.

National security adviser Jack Sullivan said at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday that Taiwan is learning from Ukraine. After years of buying expensive defense systems, he said, Taiwan is focusing more on “citizen mobilization” and “information warfare.”

He also noted that supplying Taiwan would put more pressure on US military hardware production.

“There are long-term questions about ensuring that our defense industrial base, the U.S. defense industrial base, and the defense industrial base of our allies are able to sustain such a defense,” he said. That we need to continue supplying Ukraine as well as Taiwan as well as ourselves.

Edward Wong Report from Washington, David E. Sanger From Aspen, Colo., and Amy Kane From Taipei Katie Edmondson Contributed reporting from Washington.