Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang held a press conference at a private home in Washington on Tuesday to discuss US policy toward Taiwan in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to the island.
Qin, who took his post in Washington last summer, said that the US has gone “too far” over Taiwan and warned against further escalations as the US military is preparing to send ships and planes into the Taiwan Strait.
“We have noted what the US military has said about the US military exercises and navigation [in the Taiwan Strait], but I call on the US to refrain and exercise restraint and not do anything to escalate tensions,” Qin said. “If there are any moves to violate China’s territorial integrity, China will respond.”
China responded to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan by holding its largest-ever military exercise around the island and held more drills this week after another congressional delegation arrived in Taipei. Qin said he did everything he could to try to stop Pelosi’s trip, which marked the first visit from a House speaker since 1997. “I tried every means through every channel possible to prevent [Pelosi’s visit] from happening,” he said.
From China’s perspective, the congressional delegations and other increasing US support for Taiwan show that Washington is moving away from the one-China policy. “I want to see the United States, at the moment, to rethink about its words and behavior on Taiwan, to reflect on what the true ‘One China principle’ is,” Qin said.
When Qin first came to Washington in July 2021, he brought a message of good relations, but things have only deteriorated since then. He has previously warned that Washington’s support for Taiwan could lead to war between the US and China, something he reiterated in a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, where he explained China’s objection to Pelosi’s visit.
“Taiwan is one of the very few issues that might take China and the United States to conflict. Extra caution and a sense of responsibility are indispensable when it comes to Taiwan,” Qin wrote.