China has summoned the American envoy in Beijing to lodge a stern protest over Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi's high-profile visit to Taipei, warning that Washington will "pay a price" for its "mistakes" and asked it to stop using the Taiwan issue to contain China in any form.
Bristling with anger over Pelosi's visit to Taipei, China also carried out live-fire missile drills in Taiwan Straits besides flying a number of Chinese fighter jets near Taiwanese airspace.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng "urgently summoned" the US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns late Tuesday night and lodged stern representations and strong protests over Pelosi's visit, the highest by a top US leader to Taipei in 25 years.
China views Taiwan as a breakaway province which will one day unite with it.
Beijing has not ruled out the possible use of force to reunify the self-ruled island with the mainland.
Noting that the US side shall "pay the price" for its "mistakes" for going ahead with the visit disregarding stern warnings from Beijing, Xie urged the US to immediately address its wrongdoings, take practical measures to undo the adverse effects caused by Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The US must not go further down the wrong path, escalating tensions and making the situation across the Taiwan Strait and China-US relations irreparable, Xie said.
He added that the US should stop playing the "Taiwan card", stop using Taiwan to contain China in any form, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs.
Stating that Pelosi risks universal condemnation for deliberately provoking and playing with fire, Xie said this is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communique.
"The move is extremely egregious in nature and the consequences are extremely serious. China will not sit idly by," Xie said.
The visit has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, adding that it gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for "Taiwan independence".
Xie said the US government must be held accountable as it says one thing and does another constantly distorting and hollowing out the one-China principle.
"The US has deleted key expressions such as Taiwan is part of China from the State Department website, put Taiwan in its so-called 'Indo-Pacific strategy', openly upgraded its ties with Taiwan and increased arms sales to the region and supported separatist activities for 'Taiwan independence'," he said.
After arriving in Taipei, Pelosi said that the US delegation's visit "honours America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy."
"Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan -– and it in no way contradicts long-standing United States policy,” she said.
"By travelling to Taiwan, we honour our commitment to democracy: reaffirming that the freedoms of Taiwan -- and all democracies -- must be respected."
The 82-year-old top Democratic Party leader said that her "visit reiterates that America stands with Taiwan: a robust, vibrant democracy and our important partner in the Indo-Pacific."
Apparently referring to the recent phone talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Joe Biden, Xie said the US government has indulged rather than restrained Pelosi's wilful act, leading to the escalation of tensions across the Taiwan Strait and seriously undermining the China-US ties.
Washington must take concrete actions to observe the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communique, not support "Taiwan independence"; not look for conflict with China, and not go further down the wrong and dangerous path, Xie noted.
He stressed that the trend of the times cannot be reversed, the will of the people is not to be defied, and those who play with fire will perish by it.
"Taiwan is China's Taiwan, and Taiwan will eventually return to the embrace of the motherland. Chinese people are not afraid of ghosts, pressure and the evil," Xie said.
In the minds of the Chinese people, nothing is more sacred than to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and nothing is more important than safeguarding and realising national reunification, he said.
Xie told Ambassador Burns that no country, no force and no individual should ever underestimate the firm resolve, strong will and great capability of the Chinese government and people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity and to achieve national reunification and rejuvenation.
Besides the harangue from Xie to Burns, there are deluge of statements from Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Defence Ministry spokesman -- all harping on China's redline over Taiwan, which Beijing claims is part of the Chinese mainland.
As Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday night, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) launched “massive military drills” around the island of Taiwan, including a long-range live fire drill in the Taiwan Straits and a live fire conventional missile drill to the east of the island, with analysts saying China is eyeing the anti-secession campaign against Taiwan authorities and is to concretely speed up the reunification process, the state-run Global Times reported.
The PLA will also conduct a series of live-fire military drills from August 4 to 7 in six different areas that encircle the island of Taiwan from all directions, after Pelosi landed at the Taipei airport, Xinhua news agency reported.
Chinese analysts said there are many options on the table for China to speed up the reunification process. Apart from military drills, the options could include striking Taiwan military targets, just as the PLA did in the previous Taiwan Straits crisis.
China may also pass a new legislation for national reunification, sending military aircraft and vessels to enter the island's "airspace" and "water areas" controlled by the Taiwan authorities and ending the tacit cease-fire with the Taiwan military, the Global Times report said.