‘PLAYING WITH FIRE’: Pelosi to Visit Taiwan Despite Fresh Warnings from China

WASHINGTON— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tour of Asia will include a visit to Taiwan, senior Taiwanese government and US officials confirmed on Monday.

The planned visit comes despite fresh warnings by the Chinese government that Pelosi’s stop will be seen as an act of aggression on the part of the United States.

“We would like to tell the US once again that China is standing by, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a foreign ministry briefing Monday.

“As for what measures, if she dares to go, then let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said Monday that the Biden administration will take all necessary precautions to ensure Pelosi’s safety.

“We want to make sure that when she travels overseas, she can do so safely and securely and we’re going to make sure of that. There is no reason for the Chinese rhetoric. There is no reason for any actions to be taken. It is not uncommon for congressional leaders to travel to Taiwan,” Kirby told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on “New Day.”

“We shouldn’t be as a country – we shouldn’t be intimidated by that rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important trip for the speaker to be on and we’re going to do whatever we can to support her.” 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned against “playing with fire” over Taiwan in a call with Joe Biden last Thursday, highlighting Beijing’s concerns about the possible visit.

“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” China’s foreign ministry quoted Xi as telling Biden in their fifth call as leaders. “It is hoped that the U.S. will be clear-eyed about this.”

Xi warned the Biden administration should abide by the “one-China principle” and stressed that China firmly opposes Taiwanese independence and outside interference.