Aug 01, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan this week, U.S. and Taiwanese officials said Monday, despite warnings from China, the Biden administration, and anti-war campaigners.
"The chances of a military confrontation between China and the United States have spiked upward."
Although a stop on the island--which nearly the entire international community, including the United Nations and the U.S., consider part of China--is not on Pelosi's public itinerary, a senior Taiwanese official toldCNN that the California Democrat is expected to stay overnight in Taiwan, where she will reportedly meet with officials including President Tsai Ing-wen.
At a Monday press conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said his government "has repeatedly made clear to the U.S. side our serious concern over Speaker Pelosi's potential visit to Taiwan and our firm opposition to the visit."
"Pelosi is the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. government, which means it would be highly sensitive for her to visit Taiwan no matter what," he continued, adding that such a trip constitutes "gross interference in China's internal affairs."
Zhao said the visit will also "seriously undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, wantonly trample on the 'One China' principle, greatly threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, severely undermine China-U.S. relations, and lead to a very serious situation and grave consequences."
"The People's Liberation Army of China will never sit idly by," he added ominously, "and we will make [a] resolute response and take strong countermeasures to uphold China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. As for what measures, if she dares to go, then let's wait and see."
\u201cTaiwan is China. \n\nThe UN says so. \n\nThe U.S. and China have said so in three different joint communiques.\n\nIt's called the One-China policy and Nancy Pelosi has gone full neocon to violate it.\u201d— Danny Haiphong (@Danny Haiphong) 1659273374
In a Monday video commemorating the 95th birthday of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's Eastern Theater Command vowed it is "always ready to fight" and would "bury any invading enemies."
During a Monday press conference, U.S. National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said that Pelosi would be arriving in Taiwan on a military plane, while the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and other American warships operate nearby.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said Monday that four Chinese warplanes flew through the island's Air Defense Identification Zone.
Last week, Hu Xijin, a columnist for Chinese government-owned Global Times, suggested shooting down the plane transporting the House speaker as a last resort to prevent it from landing in Taiwan.
While U.S. President Joe Biden has said that Pentagon officials believe Pelosi's visit "is not a good idea right now," he has been criticized for not objecting more vocally to the trip.
Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly told Biden during a lengthy phone conversation last Thursday that "those who play with fire will eventually get burned," while the American leader asserted that Congress is an independent branch of the U.S. government whose members make their own decisions.
Anti-war voices continued to sound the alarm over a visit that numerous observers say increases the risk of a U.S.-China war.
"The PLA has repeatedly warned that their fighter jets are ready to follow, intercept, electronically interfere, force a landing, or drive Pelosi's plane back," noted author and Black Agenda Report journalist Danny Haiphong. "This is not a drill. Pelosi's trip to Taiwan is a dangerous war provocation."
\u201cPelosi\u2019s trip to Taiwan is \u201csuch a bad idea it\u2019s hard to know where to begin criticizing it,\u201d QI\u2019s @Dalzell60 says. \u201cIt will drastically increase the chance of a crisis\u2014even conflict\u2014with China to no good end.\u201d\u201d— Quincy Institute (@Quincy Institute) 1659354785
Ariel Gold, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and former co-director of the peace group CodePink, lamented that "one would think that while already in the midst of a Cold War that could easily turn hot with nuclear Russia," it "would be prudent not to escalate within nuclear China, but unfortunately Pelosi doesn't feel this way."
RootsAction co-founder Norman Solomon wrote for Common Dreams Monday: "The arrogance of power is especially ominous and despicable when a government leader risks huge numbers of lives in order to make a provocative move on the world's geopolitical chessboard. Nancy Pelosi's plan to visit Taiwan is in that category. Thanks to her, the chances of a military confrontation between China and the United States have spiked upward."
"This is the kind of leadership," added Solomon, "that can get us all killed."
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