Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan should not be taken as an excuse for escalation, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said, adding that the issue of her trip was touched upon already in July in a conversation with the Chinese Foreign Minister.
During a G20 meeting in Bali, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Ms Pelosi’s potential visit with his counterpart Wang Yi, and said any such trip would be entirely her decision and independent of the Biden administration.
“The question is whether Beijing will try to use the trip as some kind of excuse to take steps that could be escalatory or that could somehow produce conflict,” the senior State Department official told reporters in Tokyo, adding that Beijing should not overreact to a trip that was neither unusual nor unprecedented.
“China should not use this as a pretext to continue what it has been doing, which is seeking to change the status quo with regard to Taiwan,” the official said. “And if any escalation or crisis were to somehow follow her visit, it would be on Beijing.”
US Secretary of State Blinken: "if Pelosi decides to visit #Taiwan, and #China creates tension, the responsibility will be entirely on Beijing".
Beijing's actions may have "unintended consequences," but "it will not be possible to intimidate the United States". pic.twitter.com/xHD2CQOsM1
— Indo-Pacific News – Watching the CCP-China Threat (@IndoPac_Info) August 2, 2022
At the same time, Mr Blinken took the opportunity to stress there were no plans for him to meet his Chinese counterpart this week in Cambodia.
Ms Pelosi herself, who has already concluded her trip, commented on the matter, pointing out that “Taiwan has been prevented from participating in global meetings, most recently the World Health Organisation, because of objections by the Chinese Communist Party.”
“While they may prevent Taiwan from sending its leaders to global forums, they cannot prevent world leaders or anyone from travelling to Taiwan to pay respect to its flourishing Democracy, to highlight its many successes and to reaffirm our commitment to continued collaboration,” she added.
China vented its fury on Wednesday over what was seen as the highest-level US visit to Taiwan in a quarter of a century, stepping up military activity in surrounding waters and suspending imports of some products from Taiwan.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced the possibility of using force to bring it under its control.
G7 calls on China for peaceful attitude
The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) nations called on China on Wednesday to resolve tension around the Taiwan Strait in a peaceful manner.
“There is no justification to use a visit [of Nancy Pelosi] as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally,” they said in a statement released in Germany.
They added that China’s escalatory response risked increasing tensions and destabilising the region.
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