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China threatens ‘strong measures’ if Pelosi visits Taiwan

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, July 14, 2022. China will take “resolute and powerful measures” should the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi proceed with reported plans to go to Taiwan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Eric Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

China will take “resolute and powerful measures” should the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi proceed with reported plans to go to Taiwan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Pelosi, who’s second in line to the presidency, is resulting from visit the self-governing island China claims as its own territory in August, based on a report within the Financial Times.

She was originally scheduled to go to in April but needed to postpone after she tested positive for Covid-19.

Pelosi can be the best rating American lawmaker to go to the close U.S. ally since her predecessor as speaker, Newt Gingrich, traveled there 25 years ago.

China has vowed to annex Taiwan by force if needed, and has advertised that threat by flying warplanes near Taiwanese airspace and holding military exercises based on invasion scenarios. It says those actions are geared toward deterring advocates of the island’s formal independence and foreign allies — principally the U.S. — from coming to its aid, greater than 70 years after the edges split amid civil war.

A visit by Pelosi would “severely undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gravely impact the muse of China-U.S. relations and send a seriously improper signal to Taiwan independence forces,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang said at a every day briefing.

“If the U.S. were to insist on happening the improper path, China will take resolute and powerful measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on Pelosi’s expected visit to Taiwan. Jean-Pierre said the USA’ support for Taiwan remained “rock solid,” while reiterating the U.S. longstanding commitment to the “One China” policy that recognizes Beijing as the federal government of China but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

China in recent days has also ratcheted up its rhetoric over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, demanding the cancellation of a deal price roughly $108 million that may boost its armed forces’ probabilities of survival against its much greater foe. China has the world’s largest standing military, with an increasingly sophisticated navy and an enormous inventory of missiles pointed across the 180 kilometer (100 mile) -wide Taiwan Strait.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army… will resolutely thwart any type of interference by external forces and separatist plots of ‘Taiwan independence,'” the Defense Ministry said in an announcement posted on its website Tuesday.

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While Washington maintains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether it will defend Taiwan in a conflict with China, U.S. law requires it must make sure the island has the means to defend itself and consider threats to its security as matters of “grave concern.”

Washington maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan in deference to Beijing, but is the island’s strongest political ally and source of defensive arms.

Zhao gave no details about what potential actions China might soak up response to Pelosi’s visit, but Beijing has generally used military flights and war games to point its discontent. Chinese pilots have also been accused of aggressive motion toward surveillance aircraft from the U.S. and its allies operating in international airspace off the Chinese coast, while using lasers and other methods to harass foreign warships within the South China Sea.

China’s most serious threat against Taiwan got here in 1995-96, when it held military exercises and lobbed missiles into waters north and south of the island in response to a visit to the U.S. by then-President Lee Teng-hui.

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