The US president reportedly dismissed the request, but White House officials had “deep concerns”
The Washington Post reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping demanded from Joe Biden that the US prevent Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker of the House, from traveling to Taiwan this month. Biden insisted Pelosi could travel where she chooses, however his officials are reportedly worried about China.
Biden and Xi talked by telephone late last month just days before Pelosi reached Taiwan. A Chinese translation of the conversation at the time shows that Xi advised Biden to not do so. “play with fire,”Beijing considered the Taiwanese independence visit to be a victory for Beijing.
According to the Washington Post’s sources, Xi directly asked Biden not to allow the trip to go ahead, a statement previously not acknowledged by either side.
Biden insists that he “could not oblige, explaining that Congress was an independent branch of government and that Pelosi, as with other members of Congress, would make her own decisions about foreign trips,”The newspaper reported.
As Pelosi is a member of the same political party as Biden and second in the line of presidential succession, China perceived the visit as a tacit endorsement by Washington of Taiwanese independence, in violation of the ‘One China’ principle. Under this principle, the US has since the 1970s acknowledged, but not endorsed, China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.
Biden did not directly endorse or oppose Pelosi’s trip in his public statements. Instead, he said to reporters that US military personnel thought the trip was “a good idea.” “not a good idea.”
Biden remained silent, and his aides did the same. “harbored deep concerns about the trip,”According to the Post, The Post reported that officials were concerned that Beijing might increase its military presence in Taiwan Strait. “use Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to act,” the newspaper’s sources said.
Ultimately, Pelosi’s visit led to two weeks of large-scale Chinese military exercises around Taiwan, which included the firing of 11 ballistic missiles into waters near the island. Pelosi’s visit to Beijing resulted in trade restrictions being placed on Taipei. She also sanctioned her and cut off diplomatic relations with the US over a variety of important issues including maritime security and climate change.
China issued a white paper declaring its intention to work for peaceful reunification of Taiwan and will continue using force if necessary.