Beijing: US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rumored plan for a trip to Taiwan has infuriated China and left the White House with a serious geopolitical headache, BBC reported on Wednesday.
China has warned of “serious consequences” if Nancy Pelosi were to proceed with a visit to Taiwan in the coming weeks.
Ms. Pelosi who is second in line to the presidency would be the highest-ranking US politician to travel to the self-governing island democracy since 1997 if she goes ahead with her visit. Pelosi has been a vocal critic of China.
The potential trip has not only rankled Beijing – the Biden administration has reportedly tried to dissuade the California Democrat, 82, from going ahead with the visit.
Last week, President Joe Biden told reporters “the military thinks it’s not a good idea”, but his White House has called Chinese rhetoric against any such trip “clearly unhelpful and not necessary”.
The state department says Ms. Pelosi has not announced any travel and the US approach to Taiwan remains unchanged.
There is strong bipartisan support for Taiwan among the American public as well as in the US Congress.
Pelosi has denounced its human rights record, met with pro-democracy dissidents, and also visited Tiananmen Square to commemorate victims of the 1989 massacre.
Ms. Pelosi’s original plan was to visit Taiwan in April, but it was postponed after she tested positive for Covid-19.
She has declined to discuss details of the trip, but said last week that it was “important for us to show support for Taiwan”.
Beijing views Taiwan as its territory and has repeatedly raised the specter of annexing it by force if necessary.
Chinese officials have expressed anger over what they view as growing diplomatic engagement between Taipei and Washington. This includes a surprise visit to the island by six US lawmakers in April.