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US warns China against turning Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan into a ‘crisis’

According to media reports, Nancy Pelosi will stop over in Taiwan and meet with President Tsai Ing-wen. (Case)


The White House on Monday warned China against overreacting to a trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, saying she would have every right to visit the self-governing island despite the fact that Beijing sees it as a highly provocative challenge.

China doesn’t need to turn any Nancy Pelosi visit into a ‘crisis’, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters, even as he warned that Beijing could to “position” for a show of military force around the island.

According to media reports, Pelosi, currently on an official tour of Asia, will stop in Taiwan and meet President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday – if so, the highest-level American visit to Taipei in decades.

Beijing, which considers Taiwan its territory, reacted furiously to the idea, warning President Joe Biden that his administration was playing “with fire” and announcing a series of live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

Although the White House and the State Department are both opposed to Pelosi’s trip, Kirby has made it clear that the speaker – who is second in line to the US presidency – has the right to go where she pleases.

“The speaker has the right to visit Taiwan,” he told reporters, adding, “There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit in line with long-standing US policies into some kind of crisis. “.

Kirby cited intelligence that China was preparing possible military provocations that could include missile launches across the Taiwan Strait or “large-scale” incursions into Taiwan’s airspace.

Pelosi kicked off her trip on Monday with a stopover in Singapore, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged her in a meeting to seek “stable” ties with Beijing.

His itinerary also includes Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, but the prospect of a visit to Taiwan has dominated the spotlight.

‘Nothing has changed’

Speculation about Pelosi’s plans has coincided with increased military activity in the region.

Kirby said the United States “will not be intimidated” into continuing to move freely in the Pacific region.

However, he sought to defuse tension by repeatedly stressing that US policy was unchanged toward Taiwan. This means supporting its self-government, recognizing Chinese sovereignty, and opposing either a demand for full independence from Taiwan or a forced takeover by China.

“Nothing has changed,” he said. “There’s certainly no reason for it to come to blows.”

Kirby confirmed that Pelosi was traveling on a military plane and said Washington did not fear a direct attack, but warned that it “raises the stakes of a miscalculation”.

Pelosi’s office said his trip “will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region,” referring to the Asia-Pacific.

The statement does not mention Taiwan. But the visits of American officials on the spot are generally kept secret until the arrival of the delegations.

The Global Times, China’s public tabloid, suggested that Pelosi could use “emergency excuses like plane failure or refueling” to land at a Taiwanese airport.

“If she dares to stop in Taiwan, now will be the time to set fire to the powder keg of the situation in the Taiwan Strait,” tweeted Hu Xijin, former Global Times editor and now commentator.

And the Chinese army’s Eastern Theater Command shared images on social media site Weibo showing a combat-ready army with fighters and helicopters taking off, amphibious troops landing on a beach and a stream of missiles raining down on various targets.

“We will bury all enemies who invade our territory,” reads a short text accompanying the sequence.

“We are ready to fight,” he added. “Advancing towards a common fight and a victorious war.”

The Silent Taiwan Government

Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of invasion, but the threat has intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

US officials often make low-key visits to Taiwan to show support, but a trip to Pelosi would be more publicized than any in recent history.

The Taiwanese government has been silent on the prospect of a visit by Pelosi, and local media coverage has been minimal.

“I really hate what the Chinese are doing,” Hsu Ching-feng, a fruit vendor in Taipei, told AFP.

“But there’s nothing we ordinary people can do about it but ignore them.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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