The White House hit out at Chinese officials on Tuesday for their “bellicosity” after Beijing threatened that its military would “take strong action” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi followed through with her plans to travel to Taiwan.
A Chinese defense ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying that “the Chinese military will never sit idly by, and it will definitely take strong actions to thwart any external force’s interference.”
The official was responding to Pelosi’s reported travel plans, which the White House has urged her against doing.
“We’ve seen some bellicosity. You mentioned something out of the Defense Ministry, and certainly, we’ve seen it out of the foreign ministry as well over there in Beijing,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “And frankly, that kind of rhetoric is unnecessary and uncalled for,” he told Al Arabiya English during a call with reporters.
While Pelosi has hinted about her travel plans, which have been encouraged by Republicans and Democrats alike, Kirby noted that there was “no trip to speak to” yet. “And rhetoric of that kind only escalates tensions in a completely unnecessary manner,” he added. “So, we find that unhelpful and certainly not in the least bit necessary, given the situation.”
According to media reports, Pelosi plans to make her trip next month. President Joe Biden suggested that her trip was not a good idea. “I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what the status of it is,” Biden told reporters last week.
Kirby said on Tuesday that Biden would hold a call with his Chinese counterpart sometime this week. Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be topics of discussion during their fifth call since Biden took office last year.
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