China says its response to US House speaker's visit to Taiwan 'legitimate'

Beijing doubles down against potential trip to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi who is on 4-nation Asia tour.

China says its response to US House speaker's visit to Taiwan 'legitimate'

China on Tuesday justified possible "countermeasures" against a potential trip to Taiwan by US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

"Facing reckless moves of the US side which has ignored China's repeated warnings, no matter what kind of countermeasure China takes, they are legitimate and necessary," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, addressing a news conference in Beijing.

"The US should abandon any attempt of playing the Taiwan card, faithfully abide by the one-China principle. If the US insists its way, all the serious consequences will be US’ responsibility," said Hua, who also serves as assistant foreign minister.

Though House of Representatives Speaker Pelosi's Asia Trip itinerary makes no mention of flying to Taiwan, she is expected to visit the self-ruled island on Tuesday night despite warnings from China.

Pelosi kicked off her high-profile tour with Singapore on Monday before traveling to Malaysia a day later. From there, she is scheduled to fly to South Korea and Japan.

Several US and Taiwanese media outlets have reported on the possible trip to Taiwan, citing unnamed sources.

Hua was responding to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's statement that Pelosi would "make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan.

"If the Speaker does decide to visit, and China tries to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that would be entirely on Beijing," Blinken had added.

According to the Chinese daily Global Times, Hua said this "claim about Pelosi's potential trip to Taiwan confuses right and wrong, and exposes the hegemonic mindset of some US politicians which is 'I can provoke you recklessly, but you can't oppose nor defend.'"

When asked about the nature of Beijing's "countermeasures" should the Pelosi visit take place, the Chinese official replied: "What I can tell you is that the US will be held liable and pay the price for hurting China's sovereignty and security interests."

Pelosi, who will be the first US House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, will meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen before engaging with Taiwanese lawmakers, according to the Taiwanese daily The Liberty Times.

While Taiwanese officials have made no comment on the possibility of a visit, China, which claims the self-governing island as a part of its territory, has said its military "won't sit by idly" if its "sovereignty and territorial integrity" is being threatened. It has held several military drills near Taiwan since speculations about the visit emerged.

Last week, China's President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Joe Biden "not to play with fire" over Taiwan.

As China intensifies its military exercises near Taiwan, Beijing has also canceled several flights at several airports in Fujian, the Chinese province closest to the self-ruled island which sits across Taiwan Strait south of mainland China.