China threatened to take “forceful measures” to protect its claim over Taiwan in a statement Tuesday if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi follows through with a reported visit to the self-governing island.
Pelosi will lead a delegation to Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia in August to reinforce U.S. support for allies in the region amidst growing tensions with China, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources. The Chinese foreign ministry opposed the reported visit, urging the U.S. to cease activities that can be construed as encouraging Taiwanese independence from China. (RELATED: Lawmakers Move To Speed Up Taiwanese Arms Transfers)
“If the United States insists on going ahead, China will have to take firm and forceful measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, according to a Washington Post translation of his remarks.
“The U.S. must assume full responsibility for any ensuing consequences,” Lijian said in a statement.
Pelosi would be one of the few senior U.S. officials to visit Taiwan in recent years and the first House speaker in 25 years, FT reported. However, sources told FT the trip could still fall through.
“We do not confirm or deny international travel in advance due to long-standing security protocols,” Pelosi’s office told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
She previously planned to visit Taiwan in April but was forced to postpone the trip after contracting COVID-19, the Post reported. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the time her visit would represent “malicious provocation,” according to China Daily.
“If she really dares to visit Taiwan, it will be a major serious incident,” Hu Xijin, a commentator at Chinese state-backed media outlet Global Times, said. “She will also bear historical responsibility for possibly triggering a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait.”
President Joe Biden sent an unofficial delegation to Taiwan shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid fears China could seize the opportunity to move on Taiwan, the Post reported.
If she really dares to visit Taiwan, it will be a major serious incident. She will be the enemy that divides China. She will experience a risky visit. She will also bear historical responsibility for possibly triggering a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. pic.twitter.com/pNXIRvtX0W
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) July 19, 2022
China perceives Taiwan as a “separatist” region, according to Lijian. China has accused the U.S. of violating Chinese sovereignty through its support for Taiwan’s military.
“We firmly oppose any form of official interaction between the U.S. and the Taiwan region,” said Lijian. “If Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, it would seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-U.S. joint communiqués and harm China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, we will fight to the end, no matter the cost. This is China’s only choice,” Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said on June 12, according to a translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Pelosi’s office did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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