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China says US will “face all consequences” if Pelosi visits Taiwan

#China #face #consequences #Pelosi #visits #Taiwan

China warned on Wednesday that Washington would “face the consequences” if US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, amid rising tensions ahead of an expected phone call between the two countries’ leaders.

Beijing has hit back hard at the United States after reports surfaced last week that Pelosi, a Democrat who is second in the presidency, could visit the self-governing island of Taiwan in August.

The potential visit is likely to dominate a phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US counterpart Joe Biden, which the US leader said he expects to take place this week.

Relations between the two global superpowers have continued to deteriorate under Biden’s presidency over issues such as Taiwan, human rights and competition in the tech sector, among others.

Beijing warned this week that it was “preparing” for a possible visit by Pelosi, who would be the first speaker of the US House of Representatives to Taiwan since 1997.

“We are strongly opposed to Speaker Pelosis’ visit to Taiwan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular news conference on Wednesday.

“If the US goes ahead and challenges China’s balance sheet… the US side will bear all the consequences,” he added.

A possible visit by Pelosi — yet to be confirmed by the senior Democrat — has alarmed President Joe Biden’s administration, which fears the trip could cross red lines for China.

Last week, Biden said the US military “doesn’t think it’s a good idea right now.”

– ‘Show support’ –

Democratic Taiwan is in constant danger of being attacked by China, which sees the self-governing island as part of its territory, which can be taken by force if necessary.

China’s air incursions near Taiwan have surged this year as Beijing works to isolate the island on the international stage.

Any trip by the top Democrat could come at a particularly difficult time as Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to consolidate his rule at a major party meeting later this year amid economic headwinds.

Pelosi told reporters last week it was “important for us to show support for Taiwan,” while denying that Congress was pushing for the island’s independence.

Taiwan enjoys bipartisan support in divided Washington, and China’s warnings have only fueled calls for Pelosi to go ahead.

She has long been an outspoken critic of Beijing’s human rights record, and in 1991 outraged her hosts by unfurling a banner in Tiananmen Square in memory of pro-democracy protesters killed there two years earlier.

CIA chief Bill Burns said last week Xi appears committed to the option of using force against Taiwan, despite lessons learned from Russia’s fighting in Ukraine.

“I would not underestimate President Xi’s determination to assert China’s control over self-governing Taiwan,” he said.

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#China #face #consequences #Pelosi #visits #Taiwan

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