Reports claim that Beijing warned US officials about the possibility of a violent reaction if Taiwan is visited by the House Speaker
China has reportedly raised the stakes in its row with Washington over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan, saying it may respond militarily if the California Democrat goes through with the visit.
The latest warnings were privately issued to members of President Joe Biden’s administration, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing six unidentified people familiar with the matter. It was much stronger than warnings made by Chinese officials in the past about controversial US policy or US actions regarding Taiwan.
Pelosi will reportedly visit Taipei next month. This would mark the first House speaker’s trip to Taiwan since 1997. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last Tuesday that Pelosi’s trip would have a “grave impact” on US-China ties. “If the US were to insist on going down the wrong path, China will take resolute and strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. All the ensuing consequences shall be borne by the US side.”
Chinese officials also have argued that a visit to Taipei by such a high-level representative – as House speaker, Pelosi would be next in line to the Oval Office if neither the president nor vice president were able to serve – would violate the US “One China” policy, under which Washington acknowledges Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan. On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reiterated Beijing’s vow to take “strong countermeasures,” adding, “We mean what we say.”
The Pentagon apparently sees Pelosi’s planned trip as problematic. Biden responded to reporters who asked him about the matter last Wednesday. “I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what the status of it is.”
Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that Biden hadn’t raised any concern directly with her. “I think what the president was saying is, maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shot down or something like that by the Chinese,”She said.
White House officials want to know if the Chinese latest warning is serious. “brinkmanship”According to the Financial Times, they were trying to convince Pelosi not take the trip. Jake Sullivan (US National Security Advisor) opposes the trip because it could escalate tensions along the Taiwan Strait. Pelosi has been informed by the National Security Council. “context, facts and geopolitical relevant information”John Kirby, John Kirby’s spokesperson said she was not aware of the scheduled visit. She would have to make that decision.
In recent months, tensions between the US and China over Taiwan have increased. According to the Financial Times, Pelosi had planned to visit Taiwan earlier in this month as a gesture of support for mounting reunification pressures on the mainland.
Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye said in a June interview that Beijing wouldn’t let Taiwan stand as an independent state. “We’ll retake Taiwan by all means, including military ones. If we can’t reunify the country by peaceful means, what else are we left to do?”
US General Worries about Chinese Weaponry
A US congressional delegation defied China’s warnings against going through with a trip to Taiwan last November. The meeting was the second by Congress members to Taipei in November. Beijing views such visits as encouraging separatist forces and undermining US-China relations.