- YIMOU LEE and MARTIN QUIN POLLARD
Taipei, Taiwan/Beijing, China
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was due to visit Taiwan on Tuesday, three sources said, as the US said it would not be intimidated by Chinese threats to never ” stand idly by” if she made the journey to self-reliance. island claimed by Beijing.
Pelosi, who began an Asia trip earlier Monday in Singapore, was due to spend Tuesday evening in Taiwan, three people briefed on the matter said.
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi shakes hands with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore on August 1. PHOTO: Mohd Fyrol Official Photographer/Department of Communications and Information/Handout via Reuters.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said it had no comment on reports of Pelosi’s travel plans, but the White House – which has not confirmed the trip – said it had the right to leave.
China’s responses could include missile launches near Taiwan, large-scale air or naval activity, or other “false legal claims” such as Beijing’s assertion that the Taiwan Strait is not an international waterway, White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington.
“We’re not going to bite the bait or indulge in swordplay. At the same time, we’re not going to be intimidated,” Kirby said.
Amid widespread speculation that she plans to stop in Taiwan, Pelosi’s office said Sunday she was leading a congressional delegation to the region that would include visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. . He did not mention Taiwan.
A source told Reuters that the United States informed some allies of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Two other sources said Pelosi was due to meet with a small group of activists who are outspoken about China’s human rights record while in Taiwan, possibly on Wednesday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday it would be “blatant interference in China’s internal affairs” if Pelosi visited Taiwan, and warned it would lead to “developments and very serious consequences”.
“We would like to tell the United States once again that China is here, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never stand idly by, and China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao told a regular reporter. daily briefing.
Asked what kind of measures the PLA might take, Zhao said, “If she dares to go, let’s wait and see.”
China sees visits by US officials to Taiwan as an encouraging signal for the island’s pro-independence camp. Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is required by US law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
A visit by Pelosi, second in line to the US presidency and a longtime critic of China, would come amid deteriorating ties between Washington and Beijing. Republican Newt Gingrich was the last Speaker of the House to visit Taiwan, in 1997.
A man stands in front of a window displaying the Global Times newspaper which features a front-page story about US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Asia tour in Beijing, China, August 1. The title of the first page reads: “Pelosi visits Asia in the smell of gunpowder”. PHOTO: Reuters/Thomas Peter
A video from the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command, which showed scenes of military drills and preparations and which was posted on state media sites on Monday night, urged troops to “stand ready in battle formation, to be ready to fight on command, to bury all enemies.”
The White House dismissed China’s rhetoric as baseless and inappropriate.
Kirby said nothing about Pelosi’s eventual trip had changed US policy towards Taiwan, and that Beijing was well aware that the division of powers within the US government meant that Pelosi would make her own decisions about the visit.
“The speaker has the right to travel to Taiwan,” he said during the White House briefing.
In a phone call last Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden that Washington should abide by the one-China principle and that “those who play with fire shall perish.”
Biden told Xi that US policy on Taiwan has not changed and that Washington strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, struck a measured tone with reporters on Friday, a day after Biden spoke with Xi, saying one of the goals of the dialogue was to ease tensions over Taiwan.
“I think China and the United States don’t want a conflict in the Taiwan Strait,” Liu said.
On Monday, Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang did not directly respond when asked if Pelosi would visit, but told reporters that visits from “distinguished foreign guests” were welcome.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said if Pelosi traveled to Taiwan it would trigger Beijing’s strongest countermeasures in years, but he didn’t expect that. this triggers a major military conflict.
“China has unambiguously reiterated its opposition to Taiwan separatism. The United States has repeatedly stated that its one-China policy has not changed and that it is against any change to the status quo on either else from the Taiwan Strait,” he said. .
“Except by accident, I’m sure neither side would intentionally take military action that could result in a major security risk.”
On Monday, Pelosi and her delegation met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, discussing issues including cross-Strait relations, the war in Ukraine and climate change, the Singaporean foreign ministry said.
“Prime Minister Lee stressed the importance of stable relations between the United States and China for regional peace and security,” he said.
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Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims and says only its people can decide the island’s future.
Last Wednesday, Biden told reporters he believed the U.S. military believed a visit by Pelosi to Taiwan was “not a good idea right now.”