Chinese nationalist commentator deletes Pelosi’s tweet after Twitter blocks account

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to reporters during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2022. REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst

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BEIJING, July 30 (Reuters) – Prominent Chinese commentator Hu Xijin said on Saturday he had deleted a tweet warning of military retaliation if U.S. fighter jets escort House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on any visit to Taiwan, after Twitter blocked his account.

Pelosi, number three in the US presidential succession, after Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, announced on Friday that she was embarking on a trip to Asia.

She did not mention Taiwan, but speculation about her visit to the democratically-ruled island, claimed by Beijing, has intensified in recent days, fueling tensions beyond the Taiwan Strait.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Biden in a phone call Thursday that Washington should uphold the one-China principle and that “those who play with fire shall perish.” Read more

Hu, a former editor of the state-run tabloid Global Times, wrote on Chinese microblog Weibo: “I delivered the message: if the US military sends fighter jets to escort Pelosi to Taiwan, then this decision would take the despicable nature of such a visit to another level, and would constitute aggression.”

If Pelosi were to travel to Taiwan, Hu, a nationalist arsonist widely followed on Twitter, wrote: “Our fighter jets should deploy all obstructive tactics. If these are still ineffective, I think it’s also acceptable to shoot down Pelosi’s plane.

Hu said he needed to delete the tweet to unlock his Twitter account, which had been blocked because the tweet was deemed by Twitter to have violated the platform’s rules and should be deleted by the account holder.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

On Friday, a White House national security spokesman said the United States had seen no evidence of impending Chinese military action against Taiwan when asked about a possible visit by Pelosi to the island.

Visits by US officials to Taiwan are a source of tension between Beijing and Washington, which has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

The United States has a large military presence in the Asia-Pacific, including around the South China Sea, through which a US aircraft carrier is crossing as part of what the US Navy has called a routine patrol. Read more

(This story has been reclassified to restore the Chinese commentator’s first name to lede)

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Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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