Taiwan Conducts Air Raid Drills Amid China Tension, Potential Pelosi Visit
While the Biden administration hasn't embraced the House speaker's visit to the self-governing island, Republicans have pressed for her to make the trip.The self-governing island on Monday kicked off its Han Kuang military exercises, an annual five-day event simulating an invasion by China. While Taiwan's drills were previously planned, Pelosi's possible visit comes amid heightened tensions with Beijing and has drawn strong reactions in both the U.S. and China.
© Win McNamee/Getty Images House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends her weekly news conference at the US Capitol on February 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images
- A propagandist for the Chinese government warned that the plane carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be attacked.
- Pelosi's aides have not yet confirmed if the Speaker's Asia tour will include a visit to Taiwan.
- Military experts have warned that a visit to Taiwan could heighten the risk of a regional crisis.
A leading propagandist for the Chinese government warned that China's military could attack the plane carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if it's escorted by US fighter planes on a much-speculated stopover in Taiwan in her upcoming visit to Asia.
Xi, Biden to speak as possible Pelosi Taiwan visit looms
BEIJING (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to speak with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time in four months, with a wide range of bilateral and international issues on the table. But a potential visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is looming over the conversation set for Thursday, with China warning of a severe response if she travels to the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory.
Pelosi departed on Friday for a tour that could include a controversial stop in Taiwan, the self-governed island democracy at the heart of rising tensions between Beijing and Washington.
In a now-banned tweet, Hu Xijin, a commentator with the Chinese-state-owned Global Times, wrote, "If US fighter jets escort Pelosi's plane into Taiwan, it is [an] invasion. The [People's Liberation Army] has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi's plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction."
An airline plans to install bunk beds and couches in economy class to help to boost comfort on long-haul flights
- Air New Zealand plans to equip eight Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets with bunk beds and couches by 2024.
- "Skynests" will be available to economy passengers flying on ultra long-haul flights, per the airline.
- The airline will begin non-stop flights between Auckland and New York in September.
Anyone used to flying economy class will know that comfort and the possibility of a decent night's sleep often comes at a premium. But one airline is looking to change that.
Pelosi to Taiwan would be career capstone, despite warnings
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched her political career being tough on China -- a new congresswoman who dared to unfurl a pro-democracy banner in Beijing's Tiananmen Square during a 1991 visit with other U.S. lawmakers shortly after the student massacre. More than 30 years later, her interest in traveling to Taiwan presents a powerful diplomatic capstone. It has also contributed to tensions at the highest levels in Washington and Beijing among officials who worry a trip could prove provocative. As the U.S. balances its high-stakes relations with China, whether Pelosi will lead a delegation trip to Taiwan remains unknown.
Air New Zealand announced on Tuesday that it planned to equip eight Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets with bunk beds and couches by 2024.
The airline claims it is the first carrier to put sleep pods on a plane. It is the first to offer economy passengers — those paying the cheapest ticket prices — the option.
Ultra long-haul flights are generally deemed to be non-stop journeys of more than 16 hours.
In September, Air New Zealand will begin non-stop flights between Auckland and New York, lasting more than 17 hours, per Bloomberg. From 2025, Qantas, its Australian challenger, plans to launch a non-stop service between Sydney, New York, and London, with journeys lasting up to 20 hours.
"New Zealand's location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra long-haul travel experience," said Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran, in a release on the company website. He added that the company had "zeroed in" on sleep and comfort, and designed the pods after hearing customer feedback.
Blinken acknowledges ‘prospect for conflict’ with China over Taiwan
A looming showdown over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan could test the ability of U.S. and Chinese officials to mitigate the risk of war. “We have many differences when it comes to Taiwan,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Friday. "It would be important as part of our shared responsibility to continue to manage this in a wise way that doesn't create the prospect for conflict.”Chinese officials have issued a series of heated warnings against a visit by Pelosi, adding public pressure on an internal U.S.
"It's going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience," Foran said in the press release.
The plans are yet to receive regulatory approval, per Traveller. They have been announced as part of a wider suite of changes to premium, business and regular economy classes.
Take a look at the plans.
Read the original article on Business Insider
Each ultra-long-haul flight will have a 'Skynest' consisting of six sleep pods, akin to bunk beds.
Usage of the pods, which were first announced in 2020, will be limited to four hours, passengers will also have to pay per Traveller.
Passengers will only be able to book usage of the pods once per flight, according to The Guardian.
A spokesperson for the airline told The Guardian that only one person will be able to use a bunk at a time.
Flight attendants will change bedding between each session, per CNN.
Seats have an adjustable footrest and fold-down armrests, which can be turned into a private couch seating up to three people.
"If ineffective, then shoot them down," Hu added, per the New York Post.
The Guardian dubbed Hu "China's troll king" and its "most famous propagandist" in a 2021 profile. Hu was formerly the editor-in-chief and party secretary of the Global Times, where "he helped establish a chest-thumping new tone for China on the world stage," said The Guardian.
Pelosi's aides have not yet confirmed if the Speaker's trip will include a visit to Taiwan.
Responding to the growing anger in China at the possibility of Pelosi setting foot in Taiwan, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, "There's no reason for it to come to that, to come to blows, to come to increased physical tension. There's no reason for that because there's been no change in American policy with respect to One China," AP reports.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have been high for decades, with China considering the island its territory. In contrast, Taiwan, an island democracy of 23 million that broke away from Communist China in 1947, sees itself as an independent state.
The possibility of a visit to the island by Pelosi has triggered heated rhetoric and warnings from Beijing. Reports indicate the Pentagon is planning to call upon US warplanes and ships to provide additional security near Taiwan if a visit goes ahead.
Top military experts on China have warned that a visit to Taiwan by Pelosi could heighten the risk of an "accident" that could spark a military crisis in the region.
"There's a risk of an accident, not a risk of an imminent Chinese attack on Taiwan," Bonnie Glaser, a leading China expert and director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told Insider.
Should she visit the island, approximately 100 miles from China's southeast coast, Pelosi would become the highest-ranking US lawmaker in over two decades to visit Taiwan.
Read the original article on Business Insider
Joe Biden To Make Most Important Call of Presidency to China's Xi Jinping .
The leaders of the two major powers will talk over existing frictions as well as new uncertainties thrown up by Nancy Pelosi's travel plans.The competitive nature of the contemporary relationship has left many fearing a mishap in Asia, one that could spark a wider conflict with global consequences. Crisis management between the two militaries therefore will be high on the agenda for the talks, their fifth in the last 18 months and the latest since March.