“There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit, in line with long-standing US policy, into some kind of crisis or conflict, or to use it as a pretext for aggressive military activity in or around the Strait of Taiwan,” said the National Security Council. Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby told reporters Monday.
Chinese government officials have escalated their rhetoric ahead of Pelosi’s future trip.
During a regular foreign ministry briefing Monday, China warned of the “major political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory. Chinese officials reiterated that the country “will not stand idly by” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is under threat.
And while the Chinese military did not mention Taiwan, the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army recently released a video saying it would “bury incoming enemies,” showing off its weapons and fighting tactics.
While President Joe Biden had publicly said prior to the Asia trip that the US military did not believe it was a good time for Pelosi to visit Taiwan, he failed to directly tell her not to go, according to two sources.
And Biden discussed the trip with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a phone call last week. Kirby told CNN’s MJ Lee at Monday’s White House briefing that Biden emphasized to Xi that, as a member of Congress, Pelosi makes her own decisions about international travel.
Biden administration officials have repeatedly argued this week that China should not view Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a potential change in US policy.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the government’s line that Pelosi has decided whether to visit Taiwan.
“Congress is an independent, equal branch of government,” Blinken said in a speech at the United Nations on Monday. “The decision is entirely up to the speaker.”
Blinken said such a visit sets a precedent among past members of Congress who visited Taiwan, saying: “If the speaker decides to visit and China tries to create some sort of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that would be completely upsetting.” be Beijing.”
“We are looking for them, in case she decides to visit us, to act responsibly and not to escalate in the future,” he continued.
Kirby also reiterated multiple times on Monday that “nothing has changed” regarding the US’s “One China policy”, recognizing Taiwan as part of China.
“We will not take the bait or engage in saber-rattling,” Kirby promised, insisting the US “will not be intimidated,” and will continue to operate in the Indo-Pacific while trying to maintain lines of communication with Beijing.
He said the government expects “Beijing to continue using incendiary rhetoric and disinformation in the coming days” but that the US will continue to focus on “trying to contain tensions, and frankly, manage one of the most sweeping bilateral relations in the world.”
Eric Cheung, Kylie Atwood, Alex Rogers, Kevin Liptak and Jennifer Hansler of CNN contributed to this report.