The Taiwanese official added that she is expected to stay in Taiwan all night. It is unclear when exactly Pelosi will land in Taipei.
During a regular Foreign Ministry briefing on Monday, China warned of the “terrible political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-ruled island that China claims as part of its territory, and stressed that its military “will not stand idly by” if Beijing feels that its “sovereignty and territorial integrity are “threatened.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “We would like to tell the United States once again that China stands by it, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never stand idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” In response to a question by reporters, in response to a question about the implications of Pelosi at the head of a congressional delegation to Taipei.
As for the procedures, if you dare to go, let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.
Although the Chinese military did not mention Taiwan, the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army said it would “bury the coming enemies” in a video posted online on Monday showing its weapons and combat tactics. “Stand firmly and ready for the command of combat; bury all incoming enemies,” reads a message posted on Weibo.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated the administration’s position that it is Pelosi who decides whether to visit her, adding, “We don’t know what Speaker Pelosi intends to do.”
“Congress is an independent and equal branch of government,” Blinken said at the United Nations on Monday afternoon. “The entire decision of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
Such a visit is a precedent, Blinken said, noting that previous speakers and members of Congress had visited Taiwan.
“So if the spokesperson decides to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or escalate tensions, it will all be on Beijing’s shoulders,” Blinken said. “We are looking for them, should you decide to visit, to act responsibly and not get involved in any escalation in the future.”
Earlier on Monday, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said the Biden administration would support Pelosi on a trip to Taiwan.
“We want to make sure that when she travels abroad, she can do so safely and we’ll make sure that. There’s no reason for Chinese rhetoric. There’s no reason to take any action,” Kirby told CNN’s Brianna Keeler on “A New Day.” It’s not uncommon that Congressional leaders travel to Taiwan.
“We shouldn’t be as a country — we shouldn’t be intimidated by this rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important journey for the speaker and we’re going to do everything we can to support her,” Kirby continued.
Asked if the United States was prepared for repercussions with China over the visit, Kirby said that “there is no change in our policy. There is no change in our focus on trying to keep the Indo-Pacific region free, secure and open.”
“The question of Taiwan is the most sensitive and important core issue in Sino-US relations,” Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang said at the Aspen Security Forum in July.
While Biden has said publicly that the US military does not believe the time is right for Pelosi to visit Taiwan, he has not directly told her not to go, according to two sources.
Administration officials have worked in recent weeks to inform the House speaker of the dangers of visiting the Democratic autonomous island of 24 million, including at briefings from the Pentagon and other administration officials. But Biden didn’t think it was his place to tell her she shouldn’t go, and has avoided publicly commenting on her trip since his initial July 21 statement.
Biden said last month that the US military was opposed to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, though he has since refused to release the warnings. The White House said it’s up to the Speaker of the House where you’re traveling.
However, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently said he had discussed a visit to Asia with Pelosi.
The administration takes extra care of Pelosi’s security when she travels abroad because she is in the presidential line of succession.
Administration officials are concerned that Pelosi’s trip comes at a particularly tense moment, as Xi is expected to seek an unprecedented third term at the upcoming Chinese Communist Party Congress. Chinese party officials are expected to begin laying the groundwork for that congress in the coming weeks, putting pressure on the leadership in Beijing to show strength.
Officials also believe that the Chinese leadership is not fully aware of the political dynamics in the United States, leading to misunderstandings about the significance of Pelosi’s possible visit. Officials say China may be confusing Pelosi’s visit with an official visit by the administration, as she and Biden are Democrats. Administration officials worry that China is not separating Pelosi and Biden much, if at all.
Pelosi has long been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party. She met pro-democracy opponents and the Dalai Lama – the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who remains a thorn in the side of the Chinese government. In 1991, Pelosi raised a black and white banner in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square commemorating the victims of the 1989 massacre, which read “Those Who Died for Democracy.” In recent years, she has expressed support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
“I would say there is a whole court press from the Chinese embassy to discourage a trip to Taiwan,” Washington Democratic Representative Rick Larsen, co-chair of the US-China Congressional Working Group, told CNN. “I just don’t think they would tell us what to do. That was my message again.”
Liu Bingyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the United States, responded that his office was in “regular contact” with members of Congress, including Larsen.
“On the Taiwan issue, we have taken our position loud and clear,” Pingyu said. “The embassy is making every effort to prevent peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the damage to China-US relations by the possible visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.”
“We hope to avoid serious consequences,” he added. “This is in the common interests of both China and the United States.”
Several Democrats and Republicans in Congress have said Pelosi has the right to travel to Taiwan.
“It’s Speaker Pelosi’s decision alone whether to travel to Taiwan or not to travel to any other country,” said Illinois Republican Representative Darren LaHood, Republican Larsen’s counterpart in the U.S.-China working group. “In our democracy – we operate with separate but equal branches of government.”
“It is inappropriate for foreign governments, including the Chinese government, to attempt to influence the ability or right to travel of the Speaker of Parliament, members of Congress, or other US government officials to Taiwan or anywhere else around the world,” he added.
Other members seemed more cautious about the delicate diplomatic journey.
California Democratic Representative Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, said she “always supported Taiwan.”
But when asked if the Taiwan trip now would send the wrong message, Chu said, “You can look at it two ways. One is that relations are very strained at the moment. But on the other hand, you can say maybe it was when he also needs to show strength and support.” .
When asked her opinion, she said, “I leave it to those who will make that decision.”
This story was updated with additional details on Monday.
Jennifer Hansler, Nectar Gan, Young Cheung, Hannah Ritchie, Chandelle’s Duster, and Betsy Cline contributed to this report.
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