China responded angrily on Thursday to news that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was planning a trip to Taiwan, saying it would take serious measures in reaction and warning that such a trip would harm China-US relations.
According to state-run news agency Xinhua, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that the US should cancel the trip and discontinue official interactions with Taiwan.
“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.
“Any and all consequences will be totally borne by the United States.”
Pelosi will travel to Taipei on Sunday after a planned meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, according to Japan’s Fuji News Network. Since Newt Gingrich met then-President Lee Teng-hui in 1997, she would be the first House speaker to visit Taiwan.
Pelosi is likely to be accompanied by Gregory Meeks, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to Taiwan’s United Daily News.
The trip would take place on the 43rd anniversary of President Jimmy Carter’s signing of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979. The statute governs non-diplomatic relations between the two countries, including weaponry deliveries to Taipei, and states that threats to the self-governing island are “of great concern to the US.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has refocused attention on China’s threat to Taiwan, which has promised to reclaim the island it considers a wayward province.
Shortly after the Russian invasion, US President Joe Biden’s administration sent a group of former defense officials to Taipei as a show of support.
The State Department approved a $95 million arms transfer to Taiwan earlier this week, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen indicated on Wednesday that if China invaded Taiwan, the US would apply sanctions.
“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.”