Why is Pelosi’s possible Taiwan trip piquing US-China tensions?

by | Jul 27, 2022 | World

United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly weighing a trip to Taiwan, after cancelling a planned visit to the self-governing island China claims as its own territory in April.The potential visit, which was first reported by the Financial Times and has not been confirmed, would make Pelosi – who is third in line to the US presidency after Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris – the highest ranking US official to travel to the island since 1997.
Reports of the planned trip have earned a forceful rebuke from Beijing, with foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying on Wednesday the US “will bear all the consequences” if the visit goes ahead.
The spokesman for China’s defence ministry, meanwhile, said the trip would lead to “further escalation of tensions across the Taiwan Straits”, adding China’s “military will never sit idle by, and will certainly take strong and resolute measures to thwart any interference by external forces and secessionist attempts for ‘Taiwan independence’”.
For its part, the Biden administration has also reportedly sought to discourage the trip amid concerns it would come at a time particularly ripe for escalation. On Thursday, Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping were set to hold their fifth call amid the heightened tensions.
Meanwhile, US military officials have told The Associated Press news agency that they are creating contingency plans if the reported trip goes ahead, w …

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