- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s scheduled visit to Taiwan drew a swift rebuke from China, which declared there would be “strong measures” if the trip moves forward.
- Pelosi was set to visit Japan this weekend, with some speculating a stop in Taiwan on Sunday during the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. signing the Taiwan Relations Act. No official confirmation has come from either Pelosi’s office or the Taiwanese government.
- A spokesperson for Pelosi confirmed that the House speaker tested positive for COVID-19, effectively delaying her planned trips.
- In January, a virtual meeting was held between Pelosi and Taiwan Vice President William Lai, who was finishing a trip to the U.S. and Honduras.
- The last U.S. House speaker to officially visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s scheduled visit to Taiwan was met with a fierce response from China, which warned of “strong measures” if the U.S. refuses to cancel the trip.
Pelosi was reportedly set to visit Taiwan on Sunday as part of her planned trip to Japan this weekend, but both Pelosi’s office and the Taiwanese government have yet to release an official confirmation.
Pelosi’s upcoming trip to Japan is now delayed as the House speaker has tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson for Pelosi said she was asymptomatic and received a vaccine and booster shot.
The visit would have coincided with the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. signing the Taiwan Relations Act, which offers “the legal basis for the unofficial relationship between the United States and Taiwan,” according to the Department of State.
During a press conference in Beijing on Thursday, Zhao said, “If the United States insists on having its own way, China will take strong measures in response to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. All possible consequences that arise from this will completely be borne by the U.S. side.”
In a Thursday editorial by former Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin, Chinese state-run news outlet Global Times said Pelosi’s visit would be “the most serious provocation by Washington to China on the Taiwan question.” It recommended that the U.S., “while the crisis in Ukraine is still ongoing,” should be “appeasing China in exchange for not increasing support for Russia. However, the US is deliberately taking the offensive toward China, hitting China’s bottom line and trying to pressure China into strategic submission.”
Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou emphasized that asking U.S. officials and dignitaries to visit is “an important part” of the office’s work, and official announcements of such trips would be made at the appropriate time.
The Kuomintang, a major political party in Taiwan, tweeted a welcoming message to Pelosi, hoping “to exchange views on matters of mutual interests during the visit.”
— 中國國民黨 KMT (@kuomintang) April 7, 2022
Taiwan Vice President William Lai met with Pelosi in January as he finished a visit to the U.S. and Honduras.
After the meeting, Lai tweeted, “I was pleased to meet with @SpeakerPelosi, a champion of human rights and true friend to Taiwan. We are committed to working together to strengthen the US-Taiwan partnership.”
I was pleased to meet with @SpeakerPelosi, a champion of human rights and true friend to Taiwan. We are committed to working together to strengthen the US-Taiwan partnership. pic.twitter.com/dl7uA71CGu
— 賴清德Lai Ching-te (@ChingteLai) January 29, 2022
The last time a U.S. speaker of the House officially visited Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.