On Thursday, China proclaimed that it would take aggressive action against the United States if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, as widely reported by various media outlets.
The Asian superpower declared that Pelosi’s rumored visit to Taiwan would severely jeopardize China-U.S. relations, after varied media reports indicated that she would go in the following week.
China has long claimed Taiwan, which is democratically ruled, as its own sovereign territory.
Consequently, the dispute over Taiwan remains a perpetual source of tension between Beijing and Washington. This tension has been exacerbated by the strong political and military support the United States provides to the island nation.
Neither Pelosi’s office nor Taiwan’s government have formally confirmed the visit, though varied Japanese and Taiwanese media have revealed that Pelosi intends to pay a visit to Taiwan after she visits Japan this weekend.
According to Zhao Lijian, who serves as the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Beijing is staunchly opposed to any and all forms of official interactions that take place between Taiwan and the United States.
Lijian declared that Washington should cancel the trip if it is indeed on Pelosi’s upcoming schedule.
“If the United States insists on having its own way, China will take strong measures,” Lijian intoned, adding the “strong measures” will be based upon concerns regarding “territorial integrity” and “national sovereignty.”
“All possible consequences that arise from this will completely be borne by the U.S. side,” Lijian continued, without providing further elaboration.
Meanwhile in Taipei, Joanne Ou, who serves as the spokesperson for the Taiwan Foreign Ministry, proclaimed that inviting U.S. officials and related dignitaries has long been “an important part” of the Taiwanese foreign ministry’s work.
Ou also added that any official visits would be announced at an appropriate time.
On Sunday, the 43rd anniversary of the United States’ signing of the Taiwan Relations Act is set to occur.
This act provides guidance for situations in which formal diplomatic relations do not exist, and it also helps enshrine the United States’ commitment to providing Taiwan with the necessary means to defend itself, as the need may arise.
In 1997, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich met then-Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, which marks the last time a House speaker visited the nation.
Pelosi has long been a fierce critic of China, especially in terms of its track record regarding human rights. Thus far in 2022, she has already virtually met with Taiwanese Vice President William Lai as he concluded a trip to Honduras and the United States.
Pelosi is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, as well as third in line to the presidency. Should a tragic incident happen with both Biden and Harris, Pelosi would assume the presidency.