China warns US will ‘pay a price’ if Pelosi visits Taiwan

The United States will “pay the price” if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan during her visit to Asia, China. warned On Tuesday, when tensions between the two superpowers continued to rise.

The prospect of Pelosi heading to Taipei, in what would be the most high-profile visit by an elected U.S. official in 25 years, has prompted increasingly belligerent warnings from Beijing that have stumped the region.

Pelosi, 82, has yet to officially confirm whether Taiwan is part of an ongoing tour of Asia, but US and Taiwanese media are reporting that it will.

“The American side will bear the responsibility and pay for undermining China’s sovereign security interests,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “the violation of US faith on the Taiwan issue is contemptible” in comments posted Tuesday on his ministry’s website that did not specifically mention Pelosi.

Beijing considers self-governing, democratic Taiwan to be its territory and has promised to take over the island one day, by force if necessary.

He tries to isolate Taiwan on the world stage and opposes countries that have official contacts with him.

In a telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the United States against “playing with fire” in Taiwan.

While the Biden administration is notoriously opposed to stopping Taiwan, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Pelosi has the right to go where she pleases.

“Beijing has no reason to turn a possible visit, in line with longstanding US policy, into some kind of crisis,” he told reporters.

The last Speaker of the House of Representatives to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.

Kirby cited intelligence that China was preparing possible military provocations.

He said that Pelosi was traveling in a military plane and that while Washington does not fear a direct attack, it “raises the stakes of miscalculation.”

However, Kirby reiterated that US policy on Taiwan had not changed.

This means supporting his self-governing government in diplomatically recognizing Beijing instead of Taipei and opposing a formal declaration of Taiwan independence or a forceful takeover of China.

Meanwhile, Moscow said it was “absolutely in solidarity with China,” calling the prospect of Pelosi’s visit “a pure provocation.”

China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is accused of providing diplomatic cover for the Kremlin by criticizing Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.

– All eyes on Taiwan –

Pelosi arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday where she met with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

Press access to Pelosi was severely restricted, limited to a few short statements confirming meetings with Malaysian and Singaporean officials.

The rest of her itinerary includes stops in South Korea and Japan, but the prospect of a trip to Taiwan dominates the spotlight.

Taipei remains silent on whether they expect to roll out the red carpet.

Several Taiwanese media outlets have published comments by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Tsai Chi-chan that Pelosi is “very likely” to arrive in the coming days.

And Taiwan’s Liberty Times, citing unnamed sources, said she would land on Tuesday evening and then meet with President Tsai Ing-wen the next day and depart in the afternoon.

On Tuesday evening, Taiwan’s presidential office reported that its website briefly went down for 20 minutes due to a halted DDoS attack. It’s not clear why, but the office said it would step up controls in the face of “hybrid information warfare from outside forces.”

– “Seek to punish Taiwan” –

The island nation’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of invasion, but that threat has intensified under Xi, China’s most assertive leader in a generation.

The island’s army on Tuesday said it was “fully determined” to defend it from growing threats from China over a potential visit by Pelosi.

“The likelihood of war or a major incident is low,” Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Foundation US think tank, tweeted.

“But the likelihood that … (China) will take a series of military, economic and diplomatic actions to demonstrate strength and determination is not small,” she added.

“He will probably seek to punish Taiwan in multiple ways.”

The Taipei Agriculture Council said Tuesday that China has suspended imports of some Taiwanese goods, including some fishery products, tea and honey. The council said China cited regulatory violations.

Pelosi’s potential visit was preceded by an outbreak of military activity in the region that highlights how explosive the Taiwan issue is.

Taiwan and China held live fire exercises last week.

The US has maintained a naval presence in the region, including the normally Japan-based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which passed through the South China Sea last week.

The official Twitter of the Seventh Fleet said on Tuesday that the aircraft carrier is now in the Philippine Sea.