After the visit, Beijing fired five missiles into waters that are part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, a warning to Japan and the United States about coming to the aid of Taiwan in the event of a conflict. Last week, China wrapped up 72 hours of live-fire exercises that encircled Taiwan and that simulated a blockade of the island. China’s air force continues to fly military aircraft on a daily basis across the median line of Taiwan’s Strait.
China insists that Taiwan, a self-governing democracy supported with U.S. defense capabilities, is its territory. President Xi Jinping has vowed to take Taiwan, by force if necessary.
China is very likely to respond to the congressional visit, said Charles Kupchan, professor of international relations at Georgetown University, who served on the National Security Council in the Obama administration.
“I expect Beijing to take steps to express its displeasure, like it did with Pelosi,” Mr. Kupchan said. “This is how confrontation builds.”
After the three days of shock and awe live-fire military drills using jet fighters, warships and missiles, Beijing issued a policy document on Taiwan last week, called a White Paper, that reiterated Beijing’s determination to make the island part of China.
Given the intensity of China’s reaction to Ms. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the situation remained “extremely volatile,” said Lyle Goldstein, an expert on China’s military and director of Asia engagement at Defense Priorities, a Washington research group.
The visit by the delegation “may contribute to the escalation cycle we have been witnessing over the last five years,” Mr. Goldstein added. “The U.S. and China are now on a dangerous collision course.”
Amy Chang Chien contributed reporting from Taipei, Taiwan