China summons US ambassador

Beijing says Washington ‘must pay the price’ for Nancy Pelosi’s ‘deliberately provocative’ visit to Taiwan

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng has urgently summoned the US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on Tuesday night, to lodge “stern representations” over the House Speaker’s visit to Taiwan and warn Washington against going further down the “dangerous path” of antagonizing Beijing.

“The move is extremely egregious in nature and the consequences are extremely serious. China will not sit idly by,” Xie told Burns, as cited by Xinhua.

“Taiwan will eventually return to the embrace of the motherland,” Xie added, noting that no force and no individual should ever underestimate the “firm resolve, strong will and great capability” of the Chinese people to “defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” 

“The US must pay the price for its own mistake. China will take necessary and resolute countermeasures and we mean what we say,” China’s state-run newspaper Global Times reported the diplomat as saying.

After Pelosi touched down in Taipei late on Tuesday, Beijing announced a series of military exercises and live-fire drills in six large maritime areas and their air space around Taiwan.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is on high alert and will launch a series of targeted military operations to counter this, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart external interference and ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist attempts,” defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said.

Burns has yet to comment on the diplomatic rebuke, but Pelosi herself tweeted out a brief statement after arriving in Taipei. She claimed her visit honors Washington’s “unwavering commitment” to the island, but in “no way contradicts” the long-standing US policy on Taiwan.

The third most senior official in the US government, Pelosi is currently on a tour of the Asian region. She has visited Singapore and Malaysia and is expected to hold high-level talks in South Korea and Japan. A visit to Taiwan was not on her official itinerary ahead of the tour.

Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949, when China’s nationalist government fled to the island following its defeat in the civil war. Beijing considers the island an integral part of the country’s territory and has repeatedly warned that the One China principle is a red line that no country is allowed to cross.

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