Against the backdrop of a possible visit by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Beijing has sent the Liaoning and Shandong aircraft carriers to the sea.

Zhongguo Shibao newspaper said on August 2 that the ships can be sent to the Taiwan Strait area.

It is noted that the aircraft carriers left the ports of Qingdao and Sanya, but their course is not yet known exactly.  However, the fact that China’s army used ships indicates an intensification of the military confrontation between the United States and China, the newspaper writes.

The Taiwan Air Force, in turn, also deployed eight Mirage-2000s to the southeast of the island.

According to the media reports, Pelosi will come to Taiwan on the evening of August 2.  She will lead a delegation of six people.

Official Beijing has repeatedly stated that Pelosi’s visit to the island is undesirable and warned that the Chinese military will not sit idly by if it takes place.

Meanwhile, media reports say the United States has deployed four warships, including an aircraft carrier, east of Taiwan. 

Japan’s The Asahi Shimbun, which is one of the four largest newspapers in Japan, says a US Navy official confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday that the carrier USSR Ronald Reagan had transited the South China Sea and was currently in the Philippines Sea, east of Taiwan and the Philippines and south of Japan.

“While they are able to respond to any eventuality, these are normal, routine deployments,” the official said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.  The official added that they were unable to comment on precise locations.

The U.S. Navy official said the amphibious assault ship USSR Tripoli was also in the area as part of a deployment to the region that started in early May from its home port of San Diego.

Pelosi, a long-time China critic, was expected to arrive in Taipei later on Tuesday, people briefed on the matter said, as the United States said it would not be intimidated by Chinese “saber rattling” over the visit.

Confirmation of the deployments comes as signs emerge of military activity on both sides of the Taiwan strait ahead of Pelosi visit.

In addition to Chinese planes flying close to the median line dividing the sensitive waterway on Tuesday morning, several Chinese warships had remained close to the unofficial dividing line since Monday, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reportedly said on Tuesday they have a full grasp of military activities near Taiwan and will appropriately dispatch forces in reaction to “enemy threats” as tensions rise with China.

In the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen, which lies opposite Taiwan and is home to a large military presence, residents reported sightings of armored vehicles on the move and posted pictures online. The photographs have yet to be verified by Reuters.

Since last week, the People’s Liberation Army has conducted various exercises, including live fire drills, in the South China, Yellow Sea and Bohan Seas.