Furious China Warns Nancy Pelosi Not to Visit Taiwan

A Chinese government spokesperson has warned the U.S. of "consequences" if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi follows through with an alleged plan to visit the disputed island of Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian cautioned Pelosi on Tuesday against following through on a potential visit to Taiwan in response to a report from the Financial Times which claimed the California Democrat was planning to visit the island in August. Pelosi would be the most senior U.S. official to visit the territory since former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich arranged a three-day stopover in 1997.

"We firmly oppose any form of official interaction between the U.S. and the Taiwan region," Zhao said during his daily press briefing on Tuesday. "If Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, it would seriously violate the one China principle and the stipulations in the three China-U.S. joint communiqués and harm China's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

"The U.S. must not arrange for Speaker Pelosi to visit the Taiwan region and must stop official interactions with Taiwan," he added. "Should the U.S. side insist on doing otherwise, China will take strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The U.S. must assume full responsibility for any ensuing consequences."

Nancy Pelosi Taiwan Visit Report China Threat
A Chinese official warned the U.S. of "resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity" if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi follows through on a plan to reportedly visit the disputed territory of Taiwan. Pelosi is pictured during a press conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on July 14, 2022. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

Although the current Chinese government has never governed Taiwan, it claims sovereignty over the island, which it considers part of its territory under its "one China" principle. Tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan have increased since President Joe Biden took office, while residents of the island have expressed increasing concerns about their status following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Zhao previously warned Pelosi against visiting Taiwan in April, saying that a trip to the region would force China to "take strong measures in response to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to Reuters. Although Pelosi had not announced a trip to Taiwan, she was forced to postpone a planned trip to Asia, which could have included a visit to the island, in April after testing positive for COVID-19.

Pelosi has a history of making critical statements about the Chinese government, particularly with regards to its human rights record. She has long been outspoken about China's treatment of the Uyghur ethnic minority in the Xinjiang region, which the U.S. government has officially declared to be a genocide.

Taiwan's foreign ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou told Newsweek on Tuesday that the Taipei government had not received information about Pelosi's purported plan to visit, although planning for a potential visit would likely be kept secret. Pelosi has also not publicly confirmed that she has any plans to visit Taiwan.

However, the Financial Times report quotes two anonymous sources familiar with the situation who claim that officials in the Biden administration are aware of the travel plans and are divided on whether such a visit should take place.

Some Biden administration officials have reportedly argued that Pelosi's visit would have been easier to justify if it had taken place in April, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine—an event that many have suggested is analogous to a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan—having taken place more recently.

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi's office and the White House for comment.