Chinese State Media Threatens 'Counterattack' if Nancy Pelosi Visits Taiwan

China's state-run media issued strong warnings and threats on Friday regarding a possible visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan during her trip to Asia, which she begins on Sunday.

Pelosi's official itinerary only includes confirmed visits to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore—all allies of the United States in the region. While there has been significant speculation and calls for the top House Democrat, who represents California, to visit Taiwan, a stop in the country is only a tentative possibility.

Tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan have been high for decades, with concern about a potential conflict ever in the background of the two superpowers routinely fraught relationship. Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory under the "one country, two systems" model, but the island nation has operated autonomously for decades and has a vibrant democracy, as opposed to China's authoritarian one-party system.

Nancy Pelosi
Chinese state-run media warned Friday of a "counterattack" if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, visits Taiwan during her trip to Asia. Above, Pelosi holds her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Friday. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

"U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has laid a mine where China-U.S. relations and the situation around the Taiwan Straits converge," an editorial on Friday by the Global Times, which is published by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, said.

The opinion article said that "one thing is certain: China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract, and it will let the huge risk created by Pelosi have an impact on herself. This is not only a firm and clear attitude, but will certainly be accompanied by a strong and concrete course of action plan."

Fighter jets and missiles could even be deployed to prevent Pelosi from landing, according to the state-run media outlet.

"If needed, we could also delimit missile test areas and conduct ballistic tests. During the sensitive period, the People's Liberation Army will monitor Pelosi's plane in a timely manner. If it is found flying toward our airspace, the PLA fighter jets could warn, follow, intercept, electronically interfere, force a landing, or drive it back. In this process, any consequences may occur, and the responsibility rests entirely with the U.S.," the editorial warned.

The article continued: "Some people may say, isn't this a move to trigger a war with the U.S? In this regard, people can refer to China's principles and positions in the trade war: not wanting a trade war, not being afraid of one, and having to fight one when necessary."

The Global Times urged Beijing to "raise the risk of Pelosi's 'performance' through the visit, greatly increase the cost of her performance, and boost the price she has to pay."

Chinese President Xi Jinping previously issued a warning to President Joe Biden regarding Taiwan in a Thursday phone call. "Public opinion shall not be violated, and if you play with fire you get burned. I hope the U.S. side can see this clearly," Xi said, according to Chinese reports.

Other Chinese state-run media outlets also circulated former President Donald Trump's criticism of Pelosi related to China.

"The China mess is the last thing she should be involved in—She will only make it worse," Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social on Friday. "Everything she touches," the former president wrote, "turns to Chaos, Disruption, and 'Crap.'"

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi's press representatives for comment.

Pelosi Receives Bipartisan Support to Visit Taiwan

Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike have urged Pelosi to visit Taiwan, as support for a strong stance against China's authoritarianism enjoys bipartisan support in Congress.

"If she doesn't go now, she's handed China sort of a victory of sorts," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, also said Pelosi should visit the island nation, adding that he'd "love to do it as speaker." McCarthy is optimistic that the GOP will retake control of the House in the upcoming November midterm, which could propel him to become speaker.