China has warned that it would take “resolute and forceful measures” if US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.
Pelosi, who is second in line of succession to the US presidency, has reportedly outlined plans to take a delegation to Taipei in August, according to the Financial Times,and if she makes the visit it would be the highest-level delegation from the United States to the self-governing island in 25 years.
On Tuesday, July 19, China’s Foreign Ministry lashed out at the potential visit, saying it would “have a severe negative impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
“If the US insists on going down the wrong path, China will definitely take resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a news conference. “The United States must be fully responsible for all the consequences caused by this.”
Also, August 1 is the anniversary of the founding of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
Beijing’s ruling Communist Party has long claimed Taiwan as part of its territory and has repeatedly vowed to “reunify” the island of 24 million people with the Chinese mainland by force if necessary despite having never governed the region in 70 years.
Pelosi had previously stated plans to lead a US congressional delegation to Taiwan in April, but the trip was postponed after she tested positive for Covid-19. At the time, China had strongly opposed the trip and issued similar warnings.
A visit by Pelosi would be the first by a sitting House Speaker since Republican Newt Gingrich traveled to Taiwan in 1997.
US officials and lawmakers have embarked on more than 20 trips to the democratically controlled island since the Taiwan Travel Act was signed into law by then US President Donald Trump in March 2018.
China, meanwhile, has sent record numbers of war planes near Taiwan, as tensions soared to their highest in recent decades.