There are widespread reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Sunday, which some are still chalking up to “rumor” given that neither Taipei officials nor Pelosi’s office have confirmed the trip, which would be the first time since 1997 that a US House speaker visited the island (when Republican Newt Gingrich did).
Beijing was quick to slam the trip, urging the US to cancel it immediately, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying China opposes all forms of such official interaction between the US and Taiwan. He lodged official protest, saying it would violate “one-China” understanding between Beijing and Washington and further would falsely signal pro-independence forces – for which a forceful response would be warranted.
Zhao said in a press briefing, “If she does visit, China will take strong measures and the consequences will be borne by the US,” according to Bloomberg, though without providing details as to what these threatened consequences would be.
She’s expected in Japan this weekend, and it’s being reported from there she’ll head to Taiwan, with NBC writing that “The possible visit has not been confirmed by Pelosi’s office or Taiwan’s government, but some Japanese and Taiwanese media reported it would take place after she visits Japan this weekend.”
While there have been about a half-dozen US official delegation visits to Taiwan over the last couple years, Pelosi would be by far the most high profile current US government figure, also given that as House speaker she’s second in the presidential line of succession after the vice president.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou has not yet confirmed the visit. She merely said all “friends” in the US have an invitation to visit the democratic-run island. “We will make details of any such trip public when we are able to do so,” Ou said.
That’s an almost unprecedented provocation by the U.S.
Since the re-establishment of diplomatic relationships between both countries, the very basis of the relationship is the One-China policy.
Such a visit is akin to saying “this is over”.https://t.co/AgvBT4IhCZ
— Arnaud Bertrand (@RnaudBertrand) April 7, 2022
Interestingly, regional media cited the following: “…her Taiwan trip was designed as a display of US support amid fears that China might try to emulate Moscow and launch an invasion of its neighbor,” according to unnamed officials. There’s been this concern out of Washington and the West from nearly the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, especially given that for the past year or more China’s PLA military has flown weekly or near-daily jet sorties near the island.