Amid House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s upcoming visit to Taiwan, Biden administration officials are cautioning China against taking escalating moves, stressing that a potential visit would not signal a change in U.S. foreign policy.
“There is no reason to turn a potential visit into some kind of crisis or confrontation, in line with Beijing’s long-standing US policy, or use it as a pretext to escalate aggressive military operations in or around the Taiwan Strait,” the National Security Council said. John Kirby, strategic coordinator for communications, told reporters Monday.
Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan As part of his Asia tour, a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official said. Despite warnings from Biden administration officials are worried about China’s response to such a high-profile visit. The stop — the first for a US House speaker in 25 years — is not currently on Pelosi’s public itinerary and comes at a time when US-China relations are already at a low point.
Chinese government officials have stepped up their rhetoric ahead of Pelosi’s upcoming visit.
During a regular foreign ministry briefing on Monday, China warned against the “huge political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island, which China claims as part of its territory. Chinese officials reiterated that the country “will not sit idly by” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” are being threatened.
While China’s military has not mentioned Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command recently released a video it says will “bury incoming enemies,” showing off its weapons and fighting tactics.
Although President Joe Biden publicly said ahead of the Asia trip that the U.S. military did not believe it was a good time for Pelosi to go to Taiwan, two sources said he stopped short of directly saying no.
Biden discussed the trip with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week. Kirby told CNN’s MJ during a White House briefing on Monday. told Lee that Pelosi made her own decisions on international travel as a member of Congress, and Biden emphasized to Xi.
Biden administration officials have repeatedly stressed this week that China should not view Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a potential shift in U.S. policy.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated the administration’s line that it was Pelosi’s decision whether to visit Taiwan.
“Congress is an independent, co-equal branch of government,” Blinken said in remarks at the United Nations on Monday. “The decision is entirely up to the speaker.”
Blinken said such a trip is a precedent among past members of Congress who have visited Taiwan, adding, “If the speaker decides to visit, if China tries to create some kind of crisis or escalate tensions, it will absolutely be on Beijing.”
“We are looking for them, if he decides to visit, to act responsibly and not engage in any escalation going forward,” he continued.
Kirby on Monday recognized Taiwan as part of China and repeated on several occasions that “nothing has changed” regarding the US’s “one China policy”.
“We will not take bait or engage in crosswords,” Kirby assured, while the US “will not be intimidated” and will continue to act in the Indo-Pacific as it seeks to maintain ties with Beijing.
The administration expects “to see Beijing continue to use inflammatory rhetoric and misinformation in the coming days,” but the U.S. is “focused on trying to manage tensions and, frankly, one of the world’s most consequential bilateral relationships . . .
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