China warns of ‘forceful measures’ if US House Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan

BEIJING: The Chinese government warned on Tuesday that it would take “strong measures” if the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, after the Financial Times said she would visit the island claimed by China next month.
Pelosi and her delegation will also visit Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, and spend time in Hawaii at the headquarters of the US Indo-Pacific Command, the newspaper added, citing people familiar with the matter.
Her office and the US State Department did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it “has not received relevant information” about any visits.
The Democratic leader’s visit to Taiwan has been postponed since April, after she tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, China said such a visit would seriously affect Sino-US relations.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said any visit by Ms. Pelosi would “seriously damage China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
“If the US side stubbornly sticks to this line, China will definitely take resolute and strong measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
“The United States must take full responsibility for all consequences caused by this.”
Taiwan faces growing pressure from China, which considers the democratically ruled island as its territory. This issue has frequently plagued relations between Beijing and Washington.
However, Taiwan has been backed by the continued support of the Biden administration, which has repeatedly spoken of its “unwavering” commitment to the island.
Pelosi, a longtime critic of China, held a video conference with Taiwanese Vice President William Lai in January as he wrapped up visits to the United States and Honduras.
The Financial Times reported that the White House had expressed concern about the trip, citing three people familiar with the situation.
There are divisions within the US administration over whether Pelosi should visit Taiwan, the paper quoted two sources as saying.
Some officials believe it may be easier to justify a visit in April, since that was shortly after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it added.
China sent fighter jets across the median line of the Taiwan Strait this month in what it described as an act of provocation. The incident occurred during a visit to Taipei by US Senator Rick Scott, a senior Republican and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
News of Pelosi’s August visit comes after China asked the United States on Monday to immediately cancel a potential sale of military technical assistance to Taiwan worth an estimated $108 million.

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