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China’s government warned on Tuesday it would take “forceful measures” if U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, after the Financial Times said she would go to the Chinese-claimed island next month.

Pelosi and her delegation will also visit Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, and spend time in Hawaii at the headquarters of U.S. Indo-Pacific command, the London paper added, citing people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said it has “not received relevant information” about any visit.

Asked about the report, Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said, “We do not confirm or deny international travel in advance due to longstanding security protocols.”

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Speaker Pelosi standing at the podium delivering a speech
(Getty Images)

The Democratic leader’s visit to Taiwan had been postponed from April, after she tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, China said such a visit would severely affect Chinese-U.S. relations.

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Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said any visit by Pelosi would “seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Pro-China protesters shout slogans outside of the hotel where former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver a speech in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 4, 2022.

Pro-China protesters shout slogans outside of the hotel where former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver a speech in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

“If the U.S. side obstinately clings to this course, China will definitely take resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

“The United States must be fully responsible for all the consequences caused by this.”

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Taiwan faces mounting pressure from China, which considers the democratically governed island its own territory. The issue is a constant irritant in ties between Beijing and Washington.

Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018. (REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018. (REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)
(REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

Taiwan, however, has been heartened by continued support offered by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, which has repeatedly spoken of its “rock-solid” commitment to the island.

Pelosi, a long-time critic of China, held an online meeting with Taiwanese Vice President William Lai in January as he wrapped up a visit to the United States and Honduras.

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The White House had expressed concern about the Pelosi trip, the Financial Times said, citing three people familiar with the situation.

There were divisions in the Democratic U.S. administration over whether Pelosi should visit Taiwan, the FT quoted two sources as saying.

Some officials believed it had been easier to justify a visit in April, as that was just after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it added.

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China sent fighters across the Taiwan Strait’s median line earlier this month in what the latter described as a provocation. The incident came during a visit to Taipei by Senator Rick Scott, a Republican member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

The report of Pelosi’s potential August visit came after China asked the United States on Monday to immediately cancel a potential sale of military technical assistance to Taiwan worth an estimated $108 million.

 

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