Russia on Tuesday backed China over an expected visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warning Washington that such a provocative visit would put the United States on a collision course with Beijing.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden against playing with fire on Taiwan in a call last week, but three sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Pelosi is still set to visit the island.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “We can’t say for sure right now whether she will be there, but everything about this tour and a possible trip to Taiwan is absolutely provocative.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the expected visit was a provocative attempt by Washington to pressure China – with which Russia has built a strong partnership in recent years.
“We consider Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan… it is perceived by the United States as yet another provocative action aimed at putting additional pressure on Beijing,” he said.
“Russia reaffirms the principle of “one China” and opposes island independence in any form,” Zakharova said.
China sees the visit by US officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp in the island. Washington does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is obliged by US law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
In the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong’s Communists defeated the forces of the Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party, under Chiang Kai-shek, forcing them to flee to Taiwan in 1949.
China has repeatedly warned Pelosi against going to Taiwan, which it claims as its own. Beijing says Pelosi’s visit would violate the one-China principle that Washington has vowed to adhere to.
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