Despite concerns from Biden administration and U.S. military officials who are worried about China’s reaction to such a high-profile visit, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to visit Taiwan this week as part of her tour of Asia, according to a senior Taiwanese government source and a U.S. official.
Pelosi’s public itinerary does not yet include the travel, which is the first for a U.S. House speaker in 25 years and comes at a time when ties between the United States and China are already at an all-time low.
She is anticipated to remain in Taiwan overnight, the Taiwanese official stated. Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei is not yet known with certainty but expected to happen sometime on Tuesday.
Meanwhile ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s trip, China’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Geng Shuang at the United Nations Security Council warned the U.S. not to “play with fire” and accused them of double standards on Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan.
The U.S. official also stated that personnel from the U.S. Defense Department are continuously monitoring any Chinese activity in the area and formulating a strategy to protect her.
During a routine foreign ministry briefing on Monday, China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the autonomous island that it claims as part of its territory. It also reaffirmed that its military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing feels that its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” are being threatened.
“We would like to tell the US once again that China is standing by, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, when asked about Pelosi’s trip.
“As for what measures, if she dares to go, then let’s wait and see,” Zhao warned.
Liberty Times reports, citing people familiar with the matter, Pelosi plans to visit the Legislative Yuan and meet lawmakers on Wednesday.
National Security Council coordinator John Kirby made it clear on Monday that the Biden administration will support Pelosi during her trip to Taiwan.
“We want to make sure that when she travels overseas, she can do so safely and securely and we’re going to make sure of that. There is no reason for the Chinese rhetoric. There is no reason for any actions to be taken. It is not uncommon for congressional leaders to travel to Taiwan,” Kirby told CNN.
“We shouldn’t be as a country—we shouldn’t be intimidated by that rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important trip for the speaker to be on and we’re going to do whatever we can to support her,” Kirby continued.
In case you missed it, Biden recently said the U.S. military was opposed to Pelosi visiting Taiwan.
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