China has threatened unspecified “resolute and strong measures” if US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, according to reports.
Last week, the Financial Times reported that Ms Pelosi planned to visit Taiwan in the next month. She was originally scheduled to visit in April but had to postpone after testing positive for Covid.
While it is still not clear whether she will be traveling to Taiwan, but if she does, Ms Pelosi will be the highest-ranking American lawmaker to visit the island state since Newt Gingrich, a Republican, traveled there 25 years ago when he was House speaker.
Officials have said that the US military will increase its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region, if she does go ahead with the visit, reported the Associated Press.
Without providing details, officials said that fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide overlapping rings of protection for her flight to Taiwan and any time on the ground there.
“If there’s a decision made that Speaker Pelosi or anyone else is going to travel and they asked for military support, we will do what is necessary to ensure a safe conduct of their visit. And I’ll just leave it at that,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday.
He added that any discussion of any specific travel is premature.
The discussions come as China has threatened unspecified “resolute and strong measures” if Ms Pelosi’s visit does take place.
“And the US will be responsible for all of the serious consequences,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday.
President Joe Biden said that her visit might not be a “good idea.”
“Well, I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” he said in response to a question about Ms Pelosi’s reported trip.
“But I don’t know what the status of it is.”
While Taiwan considers itself to be self-ruled, China considers the island nation as a part of its own territory under the “One China” policy. The US has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan and only supplies arms under the Taiwan Relations Act.
(Additional reporting by agencies)