China threatens ‘forceful measures’ if Pelosi visits Taiwan

STORY: China's government on Tuesday warned that it would take "forceful measures" if U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

This comes after a report by the Financial Times that said Pelosi planned to travel to the Chinese-claimed island next month.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said any visit by Pelosi would "seriously undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

“If the U.S. side is bent on having its own way, China will take resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. All consequences resulting from this must be entirely the responsibility of the United States side.“

The Democratic leader's visit to Taiwan had been postponed from April, after she tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, China said such a visit would severely affect Chinese-U.S. relations.

The White House had expressed concern about the Pelosi trip, the Financial Times said, citing three people familiar with the situation.

When asked about the report, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, said, "We do not confirm or deny international travel in advance due to longstanding security protocols."

Meanwhile, Taiwan faces mounting pressure from China, which considers the democratically governed island its own territory. The issue is a constant point of tension between Beijing and Washington.

Taiwan, however, has been heartened by continued support offered by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, which has repeatedly spoken of its "rock-solid" commitment to the island.

Pelosi - a long-time critic of China - reportedly would be the highest-ranking American lawmaker to visit Taiwan since her predecessor as speaker, Newt Gingrich, traveled there 25 years ago.

According to the FT report, citing people familiar with the matter, the House Speaker and her delegation will also visit Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, and spend time in Hawaii at the headquarters of U.S. Indo-Pacific command.