China’s Foreign Ministry reacted harshly on Tuesday to a report that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to visit the democratic island next month, a trip that would come at a critical time in US-Taiwanese relations in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“If Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, it would seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-US joint communiqus and harm China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters. “It will have a severe negative impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces. China firmly opposes such a visit.”
The Financial Times, citing six people familiar with the situation, reported earlier Tuesday that Pelosi would follow through with her plans to become the first sitting House Speaker to visit Taiwan since Republican Newt Gingrich in 1997. Pelosi canceled a planned trip in April after contracting COVID-19. A spokesperson for the speaker did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Beijing continues to claim sovereignty over Taiwan and is very sensitive to how the rest of the world recognizes its status. Some lawmakers have suggested that China may feel more likely to invade Taiwan after the West proved unable to stop Russia’s unprovoked incursion of Ukraine.
The United States policy for decades has been to not recognize Taiwan’s independence but to strongly oppose any change in the status quo. The US also supplies Taiwan with defensive weapons and generally follows the policy of “strategic ambiguity” on how the US would respond if China attacked Taiwan. President Joe Biden has at times undermined that policy by pledging that the US would use military force if the island was attacked.