(NewsNation) — Reports indicate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning a trip to Taiwan within the next month. The problem is, China doesn’t want her to go and the Pentagon is advising against it.
In fact, the Chinese are threatening “resolute and strong measures” if she makes the trip.
Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency, is due to visit the self-governing island China claims as its own territory in August, according to a report in the Financial Times.
She would be the highest-ranking American lawmaker to visit the close US ally since Newt Gingrich, a Republican, traveled there 25 years ago when he was House speaker.
She was originally scheduled to visit in April but had to postpone after she tested positive for COVID-19.
The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Pelosi planned to move forward with her postponed visit to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, in the next month. Her office declined to comment, saying the office does not confirm or deny the speaker’s international travel in advance, due to longstanding security protocols.
President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that US military officials believe it’s “not a good idea” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan at the moment, stopping short of suggesting that she not travel.
Dean Jiang, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, joined NewsNation to explain in further detail the consequences Pelosi’s trip could have on the US
Why would Nancy Pelosi go to Taiwan?
Jiang explained that Pelosi has made clear throughout her career that she is not a fan of the Chinese Communist Party.
“She has been a very consistent critic of China, especially when it comes to human rights. And the Chinese are quite egregious in their violations of human rights,” Jiang said.
What is the significance of that?
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang said such a visit would “severely undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gravely impact the foundation of China-US relations and send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces.”
The US has a longstanding commitment to the “One China” policy that recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.
US military officials have also raised alarms about the possibility that China could invade Taiwan.
China has stepped up its military provocations against democratic, self-ruled Taiwan in recent years as it looks to intimidate it into accepting Beijing’s demands to unify with the communist mainland.
What could the Chinese do?
“Let’s be serious. It’s not like the Chinese are going to try and shoot her plane out of the sky or anything else like that,” Jiang said, “They will protest. They may affect her district in California, where she comes from in terms of perhaps boycotting goods or things like that.”
Jiang said that the Chinese would most certainly file diplomatic protests in response to Pelosi’s visit.
But US Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the number of intercepts by Chinese aircraft and ships in the Pacific region with US and other partner forces has increased significantly over that time, and the number of unsafe interactions has risen by similar proportions.
“The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region,” said Milley, who recently asked his staff to compile details about interactions between China and the US and others in the region.
Also, China spent $6.1 billion on US property last year — more than any other country. Whether it’s a Chinese national, a Chinese corporation or China Inc, buying property in the United States, it all feeds back to the Communist Party in Beijing.
Specifically, they’re looking at farmland that just happens to be next to a couple of very sensitive Air Force bases in North Dakota.
But Jiang said it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Chinese are buying more US farmland considering they are a net importer of food.
“It should not surprise us if they are buying farmland in order to try and lock in access to American food. But the fact that it happens to be very close to some of our major radar installations and missile fields, that’s a bonus,” Jiang said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.