‘Bear the consequences’: China warns US ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwanvisit | World News

China warned on Wednesday that Washington “will bear the consequences” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, with tensions running high ahead of an expected phone call between the two countries’ leaders.

Beijing has hit back hard on the United States after reports emerged last week that Pelosi, a Democrat who is second in line for the presidency, could visit the self-ruled island of Taiwan in August.

The potential visit is likely to dominate a phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US counterpart Joe Biden, which the US leader has said he expects to take place this week.

Ties between the two global superpowers have deteriorated further under Biden’s presidency, including over Taiwan, human rights and competition in the technology sector.

Pelosi warned this week that it was “getting ready” for a possible visit by Pelosi, the first visit to Taiwan by a sitting speaker of the U.S. House since 1997.

Read | Pelosi is likely to visit Taiwan; China is ‘seriously prepared’

“We strongly oppose Chairman Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said during a regular news conference on Wednesday.

“If the US perseveres and challenges China’s bottom line… the US will bear all the consequences,” he added.

A possible visit by Pelosi, yet to be confirmed by the high-ranking Democrat, has raised the alarm in President Joe Biden’s administration, which fears the trip will cross red lines for China.

Last week, Biden said the US military “doesn’t think it’s a good idea right now.”

‘Show support’

Democratic Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion from China, which sees the self-governed island as part of its territory to be taken by force if necessary.

China’s air strikes near Taiwan have surged this year as Beijing tries to isolate the island from the international stage.

Any trip by the senior Democrat could come at a particularly fraught moment as Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to bolster his rule later this year at a major party rally amid economic headwinds.

Pelosi told reporters last week that it was “important for us to show support for Taiwan,” while denying Congress’s push for the island’s independence.

Taiwan enjoys bipartisan support in divided Washington, and China’s warnings have only fueled Pelosi’s move on.

She has long been an outspoken critic of the human rights situation in Beijing, and in 1991 she infuriated her hosts by unfurling a banner in Tiananmen Square in memory of the pro-democracy protesters killed there two years earlier.

CIA chief Bill Burns said last week that Xi appears determined to use force against Taiwan, despite lessons learned from Russia’s struggle in Ukraine.

“I would not underestimate President Xi’s determination to assert China’s control over self-ruled Taiwan,” he said.

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