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A top Chinese official is warning of “serious consequences” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the island nation of Taiwan which China has long insisted is not an independent state but rather part of China.
“The US will be responsible for all of the serious consequences,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said about the potential visit, Sky News reported on Wednesday.
Lijian added that there will be “firm and resolute measures” in reaction to Pelosi’s trip.
Pelosi was planning to visit Taiwan in April, which would have made her the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since 1997, but was forced to cancel the trip after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference, Thursday, May 19, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Pelosi has not officially rescheduled the trip, but rumors circulated she still intends on going after saying last week that it is “important for us to show support for Taiwan.”
“We do not confirm or deny international travel in advance due to longstanding security protocols,” a Pelosi spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Wednesday morning.
U.S. officials say they have little fear that China would attack Nancy Pelosi’s plane if she flies to Taiwan. But Pelosi would be entering one of the world’s hottest spots, where a mishap, misstep or misunderstanding could endanger her safety. So the Pentagon is developing plans for any contingency.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a commendation ceremony for role models of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics at the Great Hall of the People on April 8 (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Chinese officials told The Associated Press that if Pelosi goes to Taiwan, the military would increase its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region. They declined to provide details, but 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.
Asked about planned military steps to protect Pelosi in the event of a visit, U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that discussion of any specific travel is premature. But, he added, “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.”
China considers self-ruling Taiwan its own territory and has raised the prospect of annexing it by force. The U.S. maintains informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan even as it recognizes Beijing as the government of China.
US President Joe Biden meets with China’s President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., November 15, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
President Biden, who is scheduled to speak on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping within the next 10 days, told reporters last week that the U.S. military believes the trip is “not a good idea.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
Associated Press contributed to this report
Andrew Mark Miller is a writer at Fox News. Find him on Twitter @andymarkmiller and email tips to AndrewMark.Miller@Fox.com.