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China threatens US over Pelosi Taiwan visit

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 3, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
July 19, 2022

The Chinese government is lobbing new threats of a “strong” response against the U.S. over reported plans by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to visit Taiwan next month.

On Tuesday, Financial Times reported Pelosi will visit Taiwan in August, marking the first time a U.S. Speaker of the House will have visited the island in 25 years. At a press conference shortly after Financial Times reported on Pelosi’s travel plans, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “If Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, it would seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-U.S. joint communiqués and harm China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“It will have a severe negative impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces,” Zhao added.

While Taiwan governs itself as its own de facto independent nation known as the Republic of China, the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC) considers the island a part of its territory. Since the 1970s, the U.S. has held the so-called “One China” policy, which states that the PRC is the sole legal government of China, but the U.S. has continued to interact with Taiwan through an ambiguous policy.

“We urge the U.S. side to adhere to the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-U.S. joint communiqués,” Zhao added. “The US must not arrange for Speaker Pelosi to visit the Taiwan region and must stop official interactions with Taiwan, stop creating factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and follow through on the US’s commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence.'”

“Should the U.S. side insist on doing otherwise, China will take strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao concluded. “The US must assume full responsibility for any ensuing consequences.”

Pelosi previously planned to visit Taiwan in April but postponed the trip after testing positive for COVID-19. China similarly warned against Pelosi’s visit in April, saying her arrival in Taipei “would gravely violate the one-China principle” and the U.S. will stand to blame for “all possible consequences that arise” from her visit.

China’s latest threat toward the U.S. comes a day after the PRC demanded President Joe Biden cancel a U.S. arms sale and contract for technical support to Taiwan with an estimated $108 million value. The U.S. arms sale is set to include spare and repair parts and assembly for tanks and combat vehicles, as well as an order for technical and logistical support from defense contractors.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “The sales gravely undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, and severely harm China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and China “will continue to take resolute and strong measures to firmly defend its sovereignty and security interests.”