China warns US against underestimating Beijing's Taiwan resolve

Mrs Nancy Pelosi's visit earlier in August provoked military drills by Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - US congressional visits to Taiwan are inflaming regional tensions, and the Biden administration shouldn't underestimate China's resolve on the issue, Beijing's envoy to Washington said on Tuesday (Aug 16).

Ambassador Qin Gang rejected US officials' argument that lawmakers act independently of the White House or that the administration had no control over the agenda of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who visited Taiwan in early August.

Mr Qin said that trips by Mrs Pelosi and other members of Congress violate existing US-China agreements.

"We are handling a serious fallout from Pelosi's visit," Mr Qin told reporters in Washington.

He warned the US not to "underestimate the strong resolve, determination and the capability of the Chinese government and the people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Mr Qin delivered the warning after a congressional delegation led by Democratic Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts wrapped up a trip to the island over the weekend.

Mrs Pelosi's visit earlier in August provoked military drills by Beijing.

"Over the past decades, China has opposed congressional visits to Taiwan because we believe that they are in violation of the 'one China' principle," Mr Qin said, referring to the Chinese policy that Taiwan is part of China and that Beijing is the nation's sole representative.

"Congress is part of the government of the US - it's not an independent, uncontrollable branch," Mr Qin continued. "Congress is obliged to abide by the foreign policy of the United States. That's why we we feel very frustrated and dissatisfied with Senator Markey's visit to Taiwan. It's provocative, it's unhelpful."

Senior US officials have argued publicly that Mrs Pelosi's trip was simply part of a regular series of congressional visits to the island and that China's military reaction - firing missiles over Taiwan and conducting naval exercises off its coast - was irresponsible.

Mr Qin said China had warned the US that a Pelosi visit would have "very serious consequences".

He said China's response was proportional and that the military exercises were "open, transparent and professional."

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