(CNN) – China warned on Tuesday that, in the event that US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, which would mark the highest-level US delegation to the independent island in 25 years, it would take “resolute and forceful measures.”
According to the Financial Times, which cited sources familiar with the situation, Pelosi, who is second in line to become president of the United States, has apparently laid out plans to travel to Taipei in August with a delegation. The Pelosi campaign chose not to comment on her touring schedule.
August 1 is the anniversary of the founding of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
The possible visit was denounced by China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, which claimed it would “have a severe negative impact on the political foundation of China-US relations and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
“If the US insists on going down the wrong path, China will definitely take resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a news conference. “The United States must be fully responsible for all the consequences caused by this.”
Even though it has never been in power, Beijing’s governing Communist Party has long claimed Taiwan as part of its territory and has repeatedly pledged to “reunify” the island’s 24 million residents with the Chinese mainland, even if that means using force.
Prior to her Covid-19 test, Pelosi had intended to lead a congressional delegation from the US to Taiwan in April. However, the trip was postponed as a result. China had vehemently opposed the trip at the time and had sent similar warnings.
Her trip would mark the first time a sitting House Speaker had visited Taiwan since Republican Newt Gingrich’s visit there in 1997.
In recent years, American delegations have visited Taiwan in record numbers, particularly after the Taiwan Travel Act was signed into law by then-US President Donald Trump in March 2018. According to a CNN count, US representatives and officials have visited the democratically run island more than 20 times since that time.
Cross-strait tensions have reached their highest point in recent decades, and China has responded by sending an unusual number of warplanes close to Taiwan.
Asked if he was worried that Pelosi’s Taiwan trip could send the wrong message for the US-China relationship, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN: “I think the President’s position is pretty clear on our relationship with Taiwan. So the answer to that question is I don’t think it will be a surprise to the Chinese or be a different message than we’ve been sending.”
Hoyer told CNN he would not join Pelosi on her trip to Taiwan and did not know when she would be going.