China said Monday it was closely monitoring reports of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Taiwan and warned of a “resolute response” from its military and “vigorous countermeasures” if it proceeded with the trip to Taipei.
Ms. Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan, CNN quoted senior Taiwanese and US officials as saying, despite warnings from Biden government officials who are concerned about China’s response to such a high-profile visit.
China considers Taiwan a breakaway province that should become part of the country. Beijing does not rule out the possible use of force for Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland in the future.
Ms Pelosi, 82, confirmed on Sunday that she will lead a congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, but was remarkably silent about a possible stopover in Taiwan, the self-governing island China claims as part of the mainland.
While there are no official announcements, local media in Taiwan reported that Ms. Pelosi will arrive Tuesday night and become the highest-ranking US official in more than 25 years.
Taiwanese media quoted officials as saying Ms Pelosi would arrive in Taipei after visiting Malaysia and spend the night.
Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke of a fervent response to the visit in his phone call with US counterpart Joe Biden last Thursday, declaring that “those who play with fire will die.”
Commenting on reports of her visit to Taiwan, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a media briefing here “we are closely following Chairman Pelosi’s itinerary” and (we would) give a firm response if she continue the visit.
“What those measures will be, let’s see what happens if she actually goes,” he said. “We want to make it clear once again to the American side that the Chinese side is fully prepared for any eventuality and that the People’s Liberation Army of China will never stand idly by, and we will provide a resolute response and take strong countermeasures to uphold China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The Chinese side has repeatedly made it clear to the US side that China is deeply concerned about President Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan and strongly opposes the visit, he said.
“We stressed that such a visit would have serious consequences. As President Xi Jinping emphasized in their telephone conversation to US President Joe Biden, the stance of the Chinese government and the people on the Taiwan issue is consistent, and resolutely protects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese,” he said.
“Public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will die. We believe the US is fully aware of China’s strong and clear message,” he said.
“What the US should do is abide by the ‘One China’ principle and the terms of the three Sino-US joint communiqués, honor President Biden’s commitment not to support Taiwan’s independence and no visit from President Pelosi to arrange Taiwan.” he said.
Ms. Pelosi, who led a US Congressional delegation on Monday, held talks with officials in Singapore at the start of her Asian tour, while speculation continued about her visit to Taiwan.
CNN quoted a US official as saying that Defense Department officials are working around the clock to monitor Chinese movements in the region and devise a plan to protect it.
Taiwan will receive Ms Pelosi an unobtrusive but high-level reception if the senior Democratic Party leader ignores Beijing’s repeated warnings and makes an unannounced visit to the island, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.
Regardless of the capacity in which Pelosi travels to Taiwan, she will receive the highest official reception, meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and receive treatment reserved for top foreign officials, the report said.
But they said Taipei would try to keep the trip inconspicuous to prevent Beijing from going down even more, sounding another warning against the possible visit.
The Chinese military previously said it will not sit back if Ms Pelosi goes ahead with the visit.
Tan Kefei, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, said: “If Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, it would be a serious violation of the ‘One China’ principle and the provisions of the three joint China-US communiqués, and seriously harm the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, and seriously damage the political foundation of China-US relations.”
“It will inevitably cause very serious damage to relations between the two countries and the two armies, and lead to a further escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)