Mitch McConnell urges Nancy Pelosi not to back out of Taiwan visit amid China threats

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will give China a win if she does not follow through on her alleged visit to Taiwan.

China has warned of dire consequences for US-China relations and has threatened a veiled threat that a military response is on the table if Mrs Pelosi steps foot on the sovereign island, just 100 miles from the mainland.

But the Kentucky Republican said the United States cannot bow to Beijing’s saber.

“If she doesn’t go now, she’s handling China with a kind of victory,” Mr. McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.

He also called on the administration to ensure that Taiwan has the weapons it needs to meet the threat it may actually face.

He said that for this I think more emphasis is needed on the defense of Taiwan.

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Mrs. Pelosi, Democrat of California, has not yet confirmed her plans to travel to Taiwan, as reported by the Financial Times last week.

Beijing has warned that the visit, which would be the first by a sitting speaker of the House of Representatives in two decades, would seriously damage US-China relations.

“The Chinese military will never sit still, and will certainly be strong to thwart any interference by foreign powers and separatist efforts for Taiwan independence,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said on Tuesday. And will take decisive action,” if Mrs. Pelosi followed through on the visit

The escalation of tensions between the US and China comes ahead of a phone call between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend.

The White House has declined to comment on the trip, noting that the speaker, who is second in line to the president only to the vice president, makes his own travel decisions.

Administration officials have downplayed the threat of Chinese interference in the speaker’s visit, but have not ruled out the possibility of other provocations, such as military overflights of Taiwan’s airspace.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday called the Chinese Defense Ministry’s “truce” “unnecessary and uncomfortable.”

“This kind of rhetoric only escalates tensions in a completely unnecessary way,” he said.

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