China on Thursday reacted sharply to reports of a planned Taiwan visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying it would take strong measures in response and warning that such a trip would negatively impact China-U.S. relations.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the United States should cancel the trip and stop official exchanges with Taiwan, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
“If the U.S. insists on going its own way, China will certainly take strong measures to firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.
“All consequences that arise will be entirely borne by the U.S.”
Japan’s Fuji News Network reported earlier Thursday that Pelosi would head to Taipei on Sunday after a planned meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Her visit would be the first to Taiwan by a House speaker since Newt Gingrich met then-President Lee Teng-hui in 1997.
Taiwan’s United Daily News reported that Pelosi was expected to be accompanied by House foreign affairs committee Chairman Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.
The trip would coincide with the 43rd anniversary of the signing of the Taiwan Relations Act by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. The law regulates the countries’ non-diplomatic ties, including arms sales to Taipei, and stipulates that threats to the self-governing island are “of grave concern to the United States.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought a renewed focus on the danger to Taiwan posed by China, which has vowed to retake the island it views as a breakaway province.
Early last month, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden sent a delegation of former defense officials to Taipei in a show of support shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The State Department approved a $95 million arms sale to Taiwan earlier this week and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the United States was prepared to impose sanctions on China if it were to invade Taiwan.
“I believe we’ve shown that we can in the case of Russia,” Yellen told the House financial services committee. “I think you should not doubt our ability to resolve to do the same in other situations.”
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