Pelosi could become the first seated speaker to visit the self-governing island claimed by China in 25 years.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is due to visit Taiwan in August, according to news media, which would make her one of the most senior US officials to visit the self-governing island democracy in decades. decades.
Tuesday’s reports angered China, which said the United States would bear the consequences of such a trip. The Chinese Communist Party in Beijing considers Taiwan its sovereign territory, although it has never directly ruled the island.
Pelosi was originally scheduled to travel to Asia in early April, but her trip was delayed when she contracted COVID-19. While this trip was focused on Japan, it would have included a stopover in Taiwan.
The Financial Times, citing six sources, reported on Tuesday that the trip is now scheduled for next month.
The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US Embassy and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Local media reported that independent lawmaker Freddy Lim invited Pelosi to visit again at a summit on Tibet in June.
If her trip continues, Pelosi will be the first sitting House speaker to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich visited the territory in 1997 to meet with then-Speaker Lee Teng-hui.
The timing of Gingrich’s trip was notable because it came a year after Taiwan’s first democratic elections were held in 1996, a milestone for the island.
Pelosi’s planned visit will come at a significant low point for US-China and China-Taiwanese relations. China is also preparing for its all-important Party Congress in October and the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army on August 1.
China’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that a visit to Taiwan by Pelosi would seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the United States would bear the consequences of its response.
Speaking at a regular press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China will take strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in April that a visit by Pelosi would constitute “flagrant interference in China’s internal affairs” during a conversation with Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron.
Wang Yi further said that the trip would send “an extremely dangerous signal to the outside world”.
The same reaction can be expected again, said Wen-Ti Sung, who teaches in the Taiwan Studies program at the Australian National University. He also predicted that China could signal its displeasure by sending People’s Liberation Army planes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), a stretch of land and sea along the coast. Chinese guarded by the army.
“Beijing will likely warn of potential collusion between the US and Taiwan’s ruling DPP, possibly associated with increased PLA fighter jet activity near Taiwan’s ADIZ. This will publicly record Beijing’s displeasure, but could plausibly be interpreted more as aimed at deterring Taiwan than as a protest against a leader of the US Congress,” he told Al Jazeera.
China’s ADIZ flights have ramped up over the past two years, and it sent nearly 150 planes – a record number – to Taiwan ahead of the island’s National Day on October 10 last year.
Although the United States does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, whose official name is the Republic of China, it is the most important ally of democracy.
The relationship between the two governments has fluctuated over the decades, but they grew closer under President Donald Trump and remained close under President Joe Biden.