U.S. Sen. Rick Scott went on a conservative television network in defense of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at least when it comes to a foreign trip she has planned to Taiwan.
“I’m glad that Speaker Pelosi’s going,” Scott said. “I hope that more elected officials go over there.”
Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, slated for August, defies the communist Chinese government in Beijing, which says such a trip would adversely impact relations between China and the United States.
Scott, who recently made the trip himself, lauded Pelosi’s travel plans.
“I actually just got back from Taiwan a couple of weeks ago. And I think it’s important that we go over there and let Taiwan and South Korea and Japan know we’re their ally. We’re going to stand with them. I think it’s important to let Taiwan know that we’re going to defend their freedom,” Scott said on the Fox Business Network’s “Varney and Co.”
Chinese leadership warns, per the Associated Press, of a “strong and forceful response” if Pelosi makes the trip. Scott gave some indication of what that might look like.
“Communist China, by the way, they’re not our friend,” Scott noted. “They ran sorties into Taiwan’s air space when I was there.”
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry has offered stern warnings already, saying the Pelosi visit could “severely undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gravely impact the foundation of China-U.S. relations and send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces.”
A spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council said something similar to Xinhua’s English language publication this week, saying his office continues to “resolutely oppose any official exchange between the United States and Taiwan.”
This has been an issue of concern for Beijing for months.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi offered similar saber rattling this spring, comments for global consumption that were reported in the state publication Xinhua.