China has issued sterner warnings to US authorities about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s probable visit to Taiwan, according to a foreign ministry spokeswoman on Monday, corroborating a Financial Times report (FT).
The Financial Times reported on Saturday that six people aware with the Chinese warnings said they were much stronger than previous threats made by Beijing when it was displeased with U.S. actions or policy on Taiwan, which China claims.
According to multiple persons familiar with the issue, the private rhetoric signaled a possible military reaction.
The National Security Council of the White House and the State Department both declined to comment on the FT report.
When asked for comment on the report’s contents, spokeswoman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a routine briefing on Monday, “We are seriously prepared,”
When asked what kind of retaliation China was “seriously prepared for” and if it would be military or diplomatic, Zhao answered, “If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract.”
“The United States should be held responsible for any serious consequences,” he continued.
China has increased military activities near Taiwan in order to put pressure on the democratically elected government to recognize Chinese sovereignty. Taiwan’s administration claims that only the island’s 23 million people can decide their future, and that while the island wishes for peace, it will defend itself if attacked.
According to the Financial Times, Pelosi plans to visit Taiwan in August.
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping by the end of the month. Biden appeared to cast doubt on Pelosi’s reported travel to Taiwan.
“I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what the status of it is,” Biden told reporters.