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

China said on Tuesday the United States would “pay the price” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi travels to Taiwan on her Asia trip.

Pelosi was in Malaysia, the second leg of a tour that sparked anger in Beijing after reports of a potential visit to Taipei.

China considers Taiwan its territory and has indicated through repeated warnings that it would view a visit by Pelosi as a major provocation.

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

US officials often make low-key visits to Taiwan to show their support, but Pelosi would be a more high-profile visitor than any other in recent history.

Reports of his plans have caused US-China tensions to skyrocket.

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

And China’s UN ambassador Zhang Hun said Monday that such a visit would be “very dangerous, very provocative”.

While the Biden administration is reportedly opposed to a shutdown in Taiwan, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Pelosi has the right to go where she wants.

“The speaker has the right to travel to Taiwan,” he told reporters on Monday.

“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 planning possible military provocations.

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

Kirby, however, reiterated that US policy was unchanged toward Taiwan.

This means supporting its self-government, while diplomatically recognizing Beijing rather than Taipei and opposing a formal declaration of independence by Taiwan or a forced takeover by China.

Meanwhile, Russia backed its ally China on the issue on Tuesday.

“Washington is destabilizing the world,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on social media.

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

– All eyes are on Taiwan –

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

“We have engaged in a broad discussion about advancing our common goals for a free and secure Indo-Pacific,” Pelosi said in a statement, using another term for the Asia-Pacific region.

AFP reporters saw Pelosi exiting a hotel in the Malaysian capital and entering an SUV. His motorcade then left under tight security.

After Singapore and Malaysia, her itinerary includes stops in South Korea and Japan, but the prospect of a trip to Taiwan has dominated the spotlight.

Taipei has remained silent on the prospect of a visit from Pelosi.

Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang did not confirm the visit Tuesday at the request of reporters, but thanked Pelosi for his support.

Several Taiwanese media outlets carried comments by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Tsai Chi-chang, saying Pelosi was “very likely” to surrender in the coming days.

And the Liberty Times newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying she would land on Tuesday evening, then meet President Tsai Ing-wen the following day before departing again in the afternoon.

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

The island’s military said on Tuesday it was “committed” to defending it against heightened threats from China over Pelosi’s potential visit.

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

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

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

Source: Associated Press

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