China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian declined to specify what retaliation his country would take in case U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan: “We will wait and see,” he said.
Zhao, quoted in local media today, explained that Pelosi’s status as “the third highest-ranking person in the U.S. government” would make her trip to Taiwan “very sensitive.”
If the trip is consummated, no matter “how or when,” it would be “seriously violating the ‘one China principle,'” Zhao said, adding that the visit would “undermine China-U.S. relations” and have “a negative political impact.”
As he had warned in recent speeches, the spokesman insisted that China will take “firm measures” to “defend its sovereignty and integrity”.
In recent days, Chinese military and civilian representatives have warned of possible consequences of the U.S. official’s trip. Last week, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei stated that the Chinese military “will not stand idly by” if the visit occurs and called on the U.S. to respect “its promise that it will not support Taiwan independence.”
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The Chinese Foreign Ministry also stated that the United States will have to “bear all the consequences arising” from the trip. During their telephone conversation last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping asked his counterpart Joe Biden “not to play with fire”.
Pelosi is in Asia on an official visit and, so far, has announced that she will visit countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan, but has not declared that she will visit Taiwan, a fact that has not been confirmed by the island’s Foreign Ministry.
It is not the first time that Pelosi plans a trip to Taiwan. Her visit to the island last April was canceled after she tested positive for COVID.
China claims sovereignty over the island and considers Taiwan a rebel province since the Kuomintang nationalists retreated there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the Communists.
Taiwan, with which the U.S. does not maintain official relations, is one of the major sources of conflict between China and the U.S., mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its greatest military ally in the event of a war with the Asian giant.
Tensions have increased in the Taiwan Strait in the last year, during which the number of incursions by Chinese aircraft into Taiwan’s self-defined air identification zone (ADIZ) increased and because Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen admitted that the United States has a military presence on the island, something which Beijing called a “provocation”.
The passage of U.S. destroyers through the Taiwan Strait in recent months has also been repeatedly condemned by Beijing.
Taiwan has also received several visits from U.S. congressional delegations in recent months.