Six people familiar with the Chinese warnings said they were significantly stronger than Beijing’s threats in the past when it was displeased with U.S. actions or policies toward Taiwan.
China has publicly threatened “harsh measures” if Pelosi cancels a planned visit in August. However, one said China expressed “stronger opposition” to the US in private channels than before.
The “private” rhetoric went even further and suggested a possible military response, according to several people familiar with the situation.
Beijing has not issued a clear statement on possible responses. The Financial Times reported that its military could try to prevent Pelosi from landing in Taiwan or prevent her arrival, such as using fighter jets to intercept a US military aircraft.
Many said the White House was trying to gauge whether China was a serious threat or trying to pressure Pelosi to stop the trip.
US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan and other senior National Security Council officials oppose the trip because of the risk of escalating tensions across the Taiwan Strait, according to two people familiar with the dispute.
The NSC, or National Security Council, declined to comment on whether the administration urged Pelosi to cancel the trip. John Kirby, the NSC’s strategic communications chief, said Friday that the NSC panel had provided “context, facts and geopolitically relevant information” and that the speaker had made his own decision.
The controversy over the trip has sparked concern among Washington’s allies, who fear the trip could spark a crisis between the United States and China, according to several people familiar with the situation.
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