British lawmakers mull Taiwan trip
Despite China’s outrage over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan, British lawmakers are reportedly planning a similarly provocative trip to the self-governing island later this year, the Guardian has reported, citing multiple sources.
The UK delegation will likely be headed by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat, or “whoever becomes the next chair,” one source told the newspaper. The trip was initially supposed to take place earlier this year, but was rescheduled to November or early December, apparently due to one of the delegates testing positive for Covid.
Like Washington, London officially adheres to the “One China policy”, but maintains unofficial ties with Taiwan. The Taipei representative office in London told the Guardian it “welcomes any opportunities to strengthen its relations with Britain, including through visits from the UK,” but refused to confirm any details of the alleged trip.
Beijing has repeatedly warned that the One China principle of acknowledging the mainland’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, is a red line in China's relations with other countries that no one is allowed to cross.
Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949, after China’s nationalist government fled to the island following its defeat in the civil war. Beijing considers the island an integral part of the country’s territory.
“China firmly opposes any separatist move toward 'Taiwan Independence' and any interference by external forces, and allows no room for 'Taiwan Independence' in whatever form,” China's top official to the UN, Zhang Jun, reiterated on Monday.
Beijing launched a large-scale military exercise near Taiwan as Pelosi departed for Hawaii last weekend, ultimately heading for several destinations across Asia. The Chinese military said it was on standby to defend the country’s territorial integrity from separatism.
While the public list of destinations for Pelosi’s tour does not include the island, multiple sources both in the US and in Taiwan have claimed that the third most senior official in the US government was expected to arrive on Tuesday evening and spend the night in Taiwan.