China’s response to Pelosi’s potential Taiwan visit

Hong Kong (CNN)The United States is no stranger to China’s angry responses over its support for Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own territory.
But last week, China’s warnings against a potential high-stakes trip by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei appeared to have caused concern in Washington.
Following reports of Pelosi’s plans, China’s Foreign Ministry vowed last Tuesday to take “resolute and forceful measures” if the trip goes ahead.

Since then, a flurry of remarks from US officials have only added to the sense of alarm.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden told reporters the US military thinks a Taiwan visit by Pelosi is “not a good idea right now.” On Thursday, Pelosi said it’s important to show support for Taiwan but declined to discuss any travel plans citing security.

“I think what the President was saying is that maybe the military was afraid of my plane getting shot down or something like that. I don’t know exactly,” Pelosi said.
On Sunday, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also weighed in, offering to join Pelosi on her reported trip.

“Nancy, I’ll go with you. I’m banned in China, but not freedom-loving Taiwan. See you there!” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

In private, Biden administration officials have expressed concern that China could seek to declare a no-fly zone over Taiwan to upend the possible trip, a US official told CNN.
But with Pelosi’s potential visit now playing out in public, any decision to delay, or not go, risks being seen as a concession.
“Speaker Pelosi should go to Taiwan and President Biden should make it abundantly clear to Chairman Xi that there’s not a damn thing the Chinese Communist Party can do about it,” said Republican Sen. Ben Sasse Monday. “No more feebleness and self-deterrence.”
The Chinese government has not specified in public what “forceful measures” it is planning to take, but some Chinese experts say Beijing’s reaction could involve a military component.
“China will respond with unprecedented countermeasures — the strongest it has ever taken since the Taiwan Strait crises,” said Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at China’s Renmin University.
Military conflicts flared across the Taiwan Strait in the 1950s — the decade after the founding of Communist China, with Beijing shelling several outlying islands controlled by Taipei on two separate occasions.
The last major crisis took place in 1995-1996, after Taiwan’s president at the time, Lee Teng-hui, visited the US. Enraged by the visit, China fired missiles into waters around Taiwan, and the crisis ended only after the US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the area in a forceful show of support for Taipei.
“If Pelosi goes ahead with her visit, the United States will certainly prepare to respond militarily to a possible Chinese military response,” said Shi. “The situation between China and the US will be very tense.”
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