China warns US of ‘consequences’ if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s scheduled visit to Taiwan was met with a fierce response from China, which warned of “strong measures” if the U.S. refuses to cancel the trip.
Pelosi was reportedly set to visit Taiwan on Sunday as part of her planned trip to Japan this weekend, but both Pelosi’s office and the Taiwanese government have yet to release an official confirmation.
Pelosi’s upcoming trip to Japan is now delayed as the House speaker has tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson for Pelosi said she was asymptomatic and received a vaccine and booster shot.
(Sunday marks the 43rd anniversary of the United States signing into law the Taiwan Relations Act, which guides ties in the absence of formal diplomatic relations and enshrines a U.S. commitment to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself. – REUTERS)
The visit would have coincided with the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. signing the Taiwan Relations Act, which offers “the legal basis for the unofficial relationship between the United States and Taiwan,” according to the Department of State.
During a press conference in Beijing on Thursday, Zhao said, “If the United States insists on having its own way, China will take strong measures in response to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. All possible consequences that arise from this will completely be borne by the U.S. side.”
In a Thursday editorial by former Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin, Chinese state-run news outlet Global Times said Pelosi’s visit would be “the most serious provocation by Washington to China on the Taiwan question.” It recommended that the U.S., “while the crisis in Ukraine is still ongoing,” should be “appeasing China in exchange for not increasing support for Russia. However, the US is deliberately taking the offensive toward China, hitting China’s bottom line and trying to pressure China into strategic submission.”
Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou emphasized that asking U.S. officials and dignitaries to visit is “an important part” of the office’s work, and official announcements of such trips would be made at the appropriate time.
The Kuomintang, a major political party in Taiwan, tweeted a welcoming message to Pelosi, hoping “to exchange views on matters of mutual interests during the visit.”
After the meeting, Lai tweeted, “I was pleased to meet with @SpeakerPelosi, a champion of human rights and true friend to Taiwan. We are committed to working together to strengthen the US-Taiwan partnership.”
BEIJING – China warned on Thursday it would take strong measures if U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan and said such a visit would severely impact Chinese-U.S. relations, following media reports she would go next week.
China considers democratically ruled Taiwan its own territory and the subject is a constant source of friction between Beijing and Washington, especially given strong U.S. military and political support for the island.
The possible visit has not been confirmed by Pelosi’s office or Taiwan’s government, but some Japanese and Taiwanese media reported it would take place after she visits Japan this weekend.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that Beijing firmly opposed all forms of official interactions between the United States and Taiwan, and Washington should cancel the trip.
“If the United States insists on having its own way, China will take strong measures in response to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. All possible consequences that arise from this will completely be borne by the U.S. side,” he added, without giving details.
In Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou would only say that inviting U.S. officials and dignitaries had always been “an important part” of the ministry’s work, and that it would announce any official visits at an appropriate time.
Sunday marks the 43rd anniversary of the United States signing into law the Taiwan Relations Act, which guides ties in the absence of formal diplomatic relations and enshrines a U.S. commitment to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
The last time a House speaker visited Taiwan was in 1997, when Newt Gingrich met then-President Lee Teng-hui.
Pelosi, a long time critic of China, particularly on human rights issues, held a virtual meeting with Taiwan Vice President William Lai in January as he wrapped up a visit to the United States and Honduras. read more
Pelosi is one of the ruling Democratic Party’s most high-profile politicians, and second in the U.S. presidential line of succession after the vice president.
Taiwan has been heartened by continued U.S. support offered by the Biden administration, which has repeatedly talked of its “rock-solid” commitment to the island.
That has strained already poor Sino-U.S. relations.
In March, a delegation of former senior U.S. defence and security officials sent by President Joe Biden visited Taiwan, a strong show of support coming soon after Russia invaded Ukraine. REUTERS