White House warns China of escalations over potential Pelosi trip to Taiwan

“There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit, in accordance with long-standing US policy, into some kind of crisis or conflict, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait,” the National Security Council said. Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby told reporters on Monday.

Pelosi is expected to travel to Taiwan as part of his ongoing Asia tour, according to a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official. This is despite warnings from Biden administration officials, who are concerned about China’s response to such a high-profile visit. The stoppage — the first for a U.S. House Speaker in 25 years — is not currently part of Pelosi’s public itinerary and comes at a time when U.S.-China relations are already at an all-time low.

Chinese government officials have stepped up their rhetoric ahead of Pelosi’s eventual trip.

At a regular Foreign Ministry briefing on Monday, China warned of the “glaring political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory. Chinese officials have reiterated that the nation “will not stand idly by” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” are threatened.

And while the Chinese military didn’t mention Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command recently released a video saying it would ‘bury incoming enemies’, showing its weaponry and battle tactics. .

While President Joe Biden had publicly said before the Asia trip that the US military didn’t think it was the right time for Pelosi to go to Taiwan, he refrained from directly telling her not to go. go, according to two sources.

And Biden discussed the trip with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a call last week. Kirby told CNN’s MJ Lee during Monday’s White House briefing that Biden emphasized to Xi that Pelosi, as a congressman, makes her own decisions about international travel.

This week, Biden administration officials repeatedly asserted that China should not view Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a potential shift in US policy.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the administration’s line that Pelosi’s decision to go to Taiwan or not.

“Congress is an independent and equal branch of government,” Blinken said during an address at the United Nations on Monday. “The decision is entirely up to the speaker.”

Blinken said such a visit has precedent among former congressmen visiting Taiwan, saying, “If the speaker decides to go and China tries to create some kind of crisis or escalate tensions , it would be entirely on Beijing.”

“We are looking for them, in case she decides to visit, to act responsibly and not to escalate in the future,” he continued.

Kirby also repeatedly said on Monday that “nothing has changed” regarding the United States’ “one China policy”, recognizing Taiwan as part of China.

“We won’t take the bait or engage in bullshit,” Kirby promised, while asserting that the United States “will not be bullied” and will continue to operate in the Indo-Pacific while seeking to maintain lines of communication with Beijing.

He said the administration expects “to see Beijing continue to use inflammatory rhetoric and disinformation in the coming days,” but that the United States remains focused on “trying to manage tensions and, quite frankly, to managing one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world.”

CNN’s Eric Cheung, Kylie Atwood, Alex Rogers, Kevin Liptak and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

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