A US Air Force jet carrying US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew in a large arc over Indonesia before turning north and flying over the Philippine Sea, completely avoiding flying over the South China Sea today, three days after China’s leading propagandist warned that the Chinese military could shoot the plane down.
In a now-banned tweet, Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece 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.”
Pelosi’s flight path on the Boeing C-40C today showed that the US military was not taking the threat lightly. Flight SPAR19 took off from Kuala Lumpur’s Subang Airport at approximately 3.40 pm, but instead of heading northeast and flying over the South China Sea, the aircraft headed southeast over the island of Borneo before making an arc that took it over the southern Philippines and the Philippine Sea.
The average flight time from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei is 4 hours and 41 minutes. SPAR19 touched down at Taipei Songshan International Airport at 10:40 pm after a 7 hour flight, taking 2 hours and 20 minutes longer than the average commercial flight.
The flight was one of the most popular live-tracked flights in history on the flight tracking website FlightRadar24.com, causing the website to be unavailable due to the number of people tracking SPAR19 in real time.
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