After the Financial Times reported that US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will indeed enter Taiwan next month, China’s government alerted on Tuesday that it will only take “forceful measures.”
According to people familiar with the matter, she and her representatives will also enter Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, as well as stay in Hawaii at the headquarters of the US Indo-Pacific Command.
The Foreign Ministry of Taiwan stated that it has “not received relevant information” about another visit.
When asked about the report, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said, “We do not confirm or deny international travel in advance due to longstanding security protocols.” The Democratic leadership’s trip to Taiwan had been pushed back from April after she came back positive for COVID-19. At the time, China stated that such a visit would have a negative impact on Chinese-US connections.
Chinese Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian said in Beijing that any visit by Pelosi might “seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“If the US side obstinately clings to this course, China will definitely take resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said. “The United States must be fully responsible for all the consequences caused by this.”
When asked about China’s reaction, US State Department spokesman Ned Price replied, “I believe the foreign ministry was weighing in on a hypothetical. That is something that I will hesitate doing here.”
China, which recognizes the democratically governed island to be its own land, is increasing its tension with Taiwan. The concern is a continuous source of friction in relations between Beijing and Washington.
Taiwan, on the other hand, has been encouraged by the administration of US President Joe Biden, which has repeatedly stated its “rock-solid” commitment to the island.
Pelosi, a long-time critic of China, met with Taiwanese Vice President William Lai online in January as he returned from a trip to the United States and Honduras.
According to three people familiar with the matter, the White House voiced alarm about Pelosi’s trip.
According to two sources, there are disagreements within the Democratic US government about whether Pelosi should visit Taiwan.
Some officials believed a visit in April would have been easier to justify because it would have coincided with the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the report.
A spokesperson for the US National Security Council declined to comment on “travel that the Speaker’s office has not announced,” but emphasized that the US remains committed to its One China policy.
Individually, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet reported that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold transited the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday “in accordance with international law.”
“The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond any coastal state’s territorial sea,” it said in a statement.
The US has been making such trips through the waterway separating Taiwan and China about once a month. This has infuriated Beijing, which sees it as a show of support for the island.
China sent fighters across the Taiwan Strait’s median line earlier this month, which Taiwan defined as a provocation. Senator Rick Scott, a Republican member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, was in Taipei at the time of the event.
On Monday, China requested that the United States suspend an estimated $108 million sale of military aid to Taiwan.