During a press conference on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. military may be concerned about her plane getting “shot down” by the Chinese military if she decides to travel to Taiwan.
Pelosi brought up the prospect of her plane being shot down after President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the U.S. military does not think she should go through with a visit to Taiwan. In the days since Financial Times first reported on Pelosi’s alleged Taiwan travel plans, Chinese officials lobbed threats that her visit would result in a “strong” response against the U.S.
“I think that it’s important for us to show support for Taiwan. I also think that none of us has ever said we’re for independence when it comes to Taiwan. That’s up to Taiwan to decide,” Pelosi said. “But the inference to be drawn from your comment is that my going there is problematic. I think what the president was saying is maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shot down, or something like that, by the Chinese.”
“I don’t know exactly. I didn’t see it. I didn’t hear it,” Pelosi added. “You’re telling me, and I’ve heard it anecdotally, but I haven’t heard it from the president.”
While Taiwan governs itself as a sovereign nation, China considers the island a part of its territory. China has repeatedly warned against U.S. officials traveling to the island.
Daily Caller reporter Shelby Talcott tweeted about Biden’s remarks on Wednesday, writing, “‘The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,’ Biden says on Pelosi visiting Taiwan.”
The Financial Times reported Pelosi will visit Taiwan in August, marking the first time a U.S. Speaker of the House will travel to the island in 25 years. Pelosi refused to confirm or deny her plans to visit the independent nation.
“I don’t ever discuss my travel plans,” Pelosi said Thursday. “It’s a security issue. You never even hear me say if I’m going to London because it is a security issue. And so I won’t be discussing that now.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian threatened the United States with “strong and resolute measures” if Pelosi decides to travel to Taiwan.
“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,” he said.
“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 continued. “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,” he concluded. “The US must assume full responsibility for any ensuing consequences.”