The White House on Monday said that they would “not be intimidated” by China’s objections to a planned trip to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while restating the Biden administration’s policy against Taiwanese independence.
Speaker Pelosi left this week for a Pacific region tour of Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Despite some warnings from the White House and the Pentagon, the House Speaker has been expected to include an official visit to Taiwan as well. The visit if it happens would be the first time a House Speaker traveled to Taiwan in 25 years.
China views Taiwan as a breakaway province and has historically reacted very strongly at attempts by other nations to recognize it as independent of Beijing.
The reaction to the Pelosi trip has caused China to engage in military exercises around the island and threaten that it “won’t sit by idly” if its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened. It has been reported that one Chinese state media commentator even suggested to shoot down Speaker Pelosi’s airplane if she decides to fly to Taiwan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping complained about this trip personally to President Biden in a phone call last week, and during a foreign ministry briefing on Monday China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby responded to Chinese criticism of the Pelosi trip by saying that “nothing about this potential visit would change the status quo and the world should reject any PRC effort to use it to do so.” Mr. Kirby then commented on the strong Chinese rhetoric by stating that “we will not take the bait or engage in saber-rattling, at the same time, we will not be intimidated”.
It has not been listed on the Speaker’s itinerary when she would actually arrive in Taiwan.