China on Tuesday warned Washington of “forceful countermeasures” if US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the self-ruled island nation of Taiwan.
“The US must not arrange House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and stop official exchanges with Taiwan,” Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a news conference in Beijing.
He also called on Washington to “stop creating tensions over the Taiwan Strait,” according to Chinese daily Global Times.
The Chinese official was responding to reports that Pelosi will lead a delegation to Taiwan in August.
The US House speaker was scheduled to visit Taipei earlier in April, but the trip was canceled after she contracted COVID-19.
Beijing, which views Taiwan as a “breakaway province,” had made its stance clear at the time, asserting that such actions could inflict “serious damage to the foundation of China-US relations.”
Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, termed the planned visit a “malicious provocation.”
If Pelosi goes ahead with the plan, it would be the first visit to Taiwan by a sitting US Congress speaker in 25 years, following Republican Newt Gingrich’s 1997 trip to meet with then-President Lee Teng-hui.
Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949 and enjoys diplomatic relations with at least 14 nations.
Interactions between Washington and Taipei have significantly increased since the tenure of former US President Donald Trump, with former and sitting lawmakers making trips to the island home to over 25 million people.
The US formally recognized China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, including Taiwan as part of mainland China.
The Taiwan Relations Act, a 1979 law, has guided US relations with Taiwan. Ties have also been informed by bilateral agreements known as the Three Communiques.