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They confirmed that Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan and China issues a new warning

They confirmed that Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan and China issues a new warning

(CNN) – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan as part of it Asian tourAccording to a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official, despite warnings from Biden administration officials who are concerned about China’s response to such a high-profile visit.

After the news broke, China warned of the “appalling” political consequences of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and said its military “will not stand idly by.”

The visit, the first by a US House speaker in 25 years, is not currently on Pelosi’s public itinerary and comes at a time when US-China relations are already at an all-time low.

The Taiwanese official added that Pelosi is expected to spend the night in Taiwan. It is unclear when exactly it will land in Taipei.

The US official added that Defense Department officials are working around the clock to monitor any Chinese movement in the region and ensure that there is a plan to keep it safe.

The question of Taiwan – the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory – remains one of the most contentious issues. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed the matter at length in a two-hour and 17-minute phone call on Thursday, with tensions rising between Washington and Beijing.

“The Taiwan issue is the most sensitive and important core issue in Sino-US relations,” Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang said at the Aspen Security Forum in July.

Biden said last month that the US military was opposed to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, though he has since declined to elaborate on the warnings. The White House said where she would travel was up to the Speaker of the House, and that they had little say in her decision.

Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan raises tension between China and the United States 2:44

However, administration officials in recent weeks have worked to explain the dangers of visiting Taiwan in meetings with Pelosi and her team. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently said he discussed a visit to Asia with Pelosi.

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The administration is particularly concerned about Pelosi’s safety when she travels abroad because she is in the presidential line of succession.

Administration officials are concerned that Pelosi’s trip comes at a particularly tense time, with Xi expected to seek an unprecedented third term at the upcoming Chinese Communist Party Congress. Chinese party officials are expected to begin laying the groundwork for this congress in the coming weeks, pressing leaders in Beijing to take a stand.

Officials also believe that Chinese leaders do not fully understand the political dynamics in the United States, leading to misunderstandings about the significance of Pelosi’s possible visit. Officials say China may be confusing Pelosi’s visit with an official visit by the administration, since she and Biden are Democrats. Administration officials worry that China may not separate Pelosi and Biden much, if at all.

Pelosi has long been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party. He met with pro-democracy opponents and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who remains a thorn in the side of the Chinese government. In 1991, Pelosi raised a black and white banner in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square commemorating the victims of the 1989 massacre, reading “Those Who Died for Democracy.” In recent years, he has expressed support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The Chinese Embassy in the United States has opposed its long-awaited trip, which was scheduled for April before Pelosi tested positive for Covid-19, and urged lawmakers to tell the president not to.

“I would say that the Chinese embassy has applied full pressure to discourage travel to Taiwan,” Democratic Representative Rick Larsen of Washington and co-chair of the US-China Congress task force told CNN. “I don’t think they would tell us what to do. That was my reply message.”

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Liu Bingyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the United States, responded that his office was in “regular contact” with members of Congress, including Larsen.

“On the Taiwan issue, we have made our position clear,” Pingyu said. “The embassy is doing its best to prevent peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the stability of Sino-US relations from being harmed by the possible visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.”

“We hope to avoid serious consequences,” he added. “This is in the common interest of China and the United States.”

Several Democrats and Republicans in Congress have said Pelosi has the right to travel to Taiwan.

“The decision to travel to Taiwan or not is up to Speaker Pelosi alone, not any other country,” said Illinois Republican Representative Darren LaHood, Larsen’s Republican counterpart on the US-China task force. “In our democratic system, we operate with separate but equal powers.”

“It is inappropriate for foreign governments, including the Chinese government, to attempt to influence the ability or right of the Speaker of Parliament, members of Congress, or other US government officials to travel to Taiwan or anywhere else in the world,” he added. .

Other members seemed more cautious about the trip, which is diplomatically sensitive.

California Democratic Representative Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, said she had “always supported Taiwan.”

But when asked if the trip to Taiwan now would send the wrong message, Zhou said, “You can look at it two ways. One is that relations are very tense at the moment. But on the other hand, you can say maybe they are now. And that Taiwan also needs to Show strength and support.

When asked his opinion, he said, “I leave it to whoever makes that decision.”

China warns of ‘appalling’ political fallout from Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, says its military ‘will not stand idly by’

China warned of “horrific political repercussions” from Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Taiwan and reiterated that its military “will not stand idly by” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is threatened, during a media briefing. Regular meeting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign affairs were held on Monday.

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“We would like to tell the United States once again that China stands idly by, and the People’s Liberation Army will not stand idly by. China will take firm responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters when asked about the consequences of Pelosi’s leadership of a congressional delegation in Taipei.

As for the procedures, if you dare to go, let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

In a similar warning last week, China’s Ministry of National Defense called on the US government to take “concrete steps” to cancel Pelosi’s then-speculative visit, saying its military would consider “strong action to thwart the interference of any outside forces and the separatists.” Plans for ‘Taiwan independence’ if it goes ahead.

Zhao’s comments came just hours before US and Taiwanese officials confirmed on Tuesday that Pelosi plans to visit Taiwan as part of her Asian tour, which is currently in Singapore.

Beijing – which regards the self-governing island of Taiwan as a breakaway province – has been warning for weeks that it is ready to take “decisive and strong measures” if Pelosi lands in Taipei.

Since then, both the White House and the Pentagon have raised concerns, as officials assess what China’s real response to the delegation’s visit might be, including the possibility that Beijing will impose a no-fly zone around Taiwan.

CNN’s Nectar Gan and Hannah Ritchie contributed to this report.