Just hours before US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democratic-California) who said to have tested positive for COVID-19, reports surfaced that she is expected to make a trip to Taiwan in the near future. However, the exact date when the visit will take place is not known.

Despite any confirmation from Pelosi’s office and Taiwanese officials of the trip, China issued a warning for US over the speaker’s upcoming visit, Bloomberg reported.

“If the United States insists on having its own way, China will take strong measures in response to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. All possible consequences that arise from this will completely be borne by the U.S. side,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, Reuters reported.

Also Read | Russia’s Ukraine war a strategic burden on Beijing: Pentagon

Lijian emphasized that China opposes all official contact between the US and Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as its own and has been stepping up pressure on the island to take territory control. Taiwan says it’s already an independent state under the name of the Republic of China.

The increasing support that Taiwan has been receiving from US has angered Beijing. Many have suggested that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could inspire China into taking over Taiwan by force. 

Now, Pelosi’s visit could hint at a key support for the island nation. Whenever the visit takes place, it would be the first time the US Speaker of the House has traveled to Taiwan since 1997. 

Washington has strongly opposed China’s claim on the island. A bill introduced in the House on Wednesday would sanction China for any threats or actions taken against Taiwan.

“The situation in Ukraine is the very real consequence of weak leadership and a lack of true deterrence for Russia. Taiwan is a friend, good trading partner, and beacon of freedom and democracy,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said regarding a similar bill he put forth in the Senate.

Also Read | What does the $95M US arms package mean for Taiwan amid China’s military expansion?

“Our bill threatens crippling financial sanctions as a deterrence to China trying to follow in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s footsteps as it relates to Taiwan,” he added.

The US has also been working on strengthening Taiwan’s military capabilities by approving a recent arms deal.

The State Department notified Congress of a $95 million equipment and maintenance package for Taiwan’s Patriot surface-to-air missile systems on April 5, according to a press released issued by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency. This is the Biden administration’s third foreign military sale to Taiwan.

Lijian had condemned the deal with Taiwan, demanded that the US withdraw the package.

The arms sale “seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, and seriously undermines China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he said, according to Xinhua Net. “China will take resolute and powerful measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty and security interests,” Zhao said.

Also Read | House Speaker Pelosi tests COVID positive a day after meeting Biden

Late on Thursday, Pelosi tested positive for COVID-19 a day after she met with US President Joe Biden at the White House for the Postal services bill signing. This suggests that even if a Taiwan visit has been on the cards, it would surely be delayed.