September 24, 2022

White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said the United States does not seek to turn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan into a crisis with China.

Ms Jean-Pierre made the remark during a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, after Ms Pelosi became the highest-ranking US government official to visit Taiwan.

“There is no reason for Beijing to turn this visit, which is in line with longstanding US policy, into some kind of crisis,” Ms Jean-Pierre told reporters.

The remarks come after state media in China described Ms Pelosi’s trip as an “opening war”. While Taiwan is a self-governing island off the coast of China with its own government and constitution, China considers it a breakaway province. In response, China promised “consequences” for the visit, announcing military exercises surrounding the island.

But the White House said that was not a reason for conflict.

“There is no reason to do this,” Ms Jean-Pierre said. “We are very clear that there is no change in our one-China policy, which has been guided since the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.”

Ms Pelosi defended her visit in a statement, saying Taiwan has been barred from global meetings such as the World Health Organization over objections from the Chinese Communist Party.

“While they may prevent Taiwan from sending its leaders to world forums, they cannot prevent world leaders or anyone from traveling to Taiwan to honor its thriving democracy, highlight its many successes, and reaffirm our commitment for continued cooperation,” he said. .

Despite the White House’s concerns, 25 Senate Republicans defended her visit to Taiwan. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri pointed out at a press conference on Tuesday that the last high-ranking official to visit Taiwan was former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

“I’m going to use four words in a row that I haven’t used in this way before, and those four words are ‘Speaker Pelosi was right’ when she decided to include Taiwan in her visit to Asia,” he said.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked during the briefing why Republicans were more enthusiastic about her visit than the White House.

“Members of Congress have the right to travel wherever they choose, and they’re part of that, to make sure we’re providing them with a thorough and complete briefing when it comes to regional or state geopolitics or when it comes to national security,” he said.

-Sravasti Dasgupta contributed to this report.

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