An enraged China has warned the course of history cannot be altered as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought her controversial Taiwan visit to a close.
Ms Pelosi's visit unsurprisingly dominated Wednesday afternoon's foreign ministry briefing, with Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying offering a scathing assessment of America's "dangerous" move.
Ms Pelosi had stated her visit was in support of Taiwan's "vibrant democracy", yet Ms Hua lambasted her as a hypocrite.
"The kind of democracy referred to by Pelosi is like nothing but a robe with lice crawling all over it," she said.
"It may look opulent from a distance, but couldn’t stand close scrutiny.
"From the Capitol riot, the death of George Floyd, the Robb Elementary School shooting, and America’s over one million Covid deaths, we see the hypocrisy and cold-bloodedness of the kind of democracy Pelosi referred to."
China ramps up military presence
It comes as attentions turn to China's unprecedented live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan, which Taipei have expressed strong disapproval of. Ms Hua defended the four-day exercise beginning on Thursday.
"The relevant actions of the Chinese military are a deterrent to the separatist forces in Taiwan and are justified," she said.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has remained defiant, warning Taiwan "will not back down" if faced with increased military provocation.
Ms Hua fronting the daily press briefing this week is telling in itself after months away from taking questions as a department spokesperson, with her rare appearance a sign of how seriously Beijing is taking Ms Pelosi's visit.
She later took to Twitter to warn the US's actions meant "none of this will end well", suggesting Beijing's resolve is unbreakable while adding China is a "victim".
"To achieve national reunification is the shared aspiration and sacred duty of all Chinese people," she told reporters.
The US has reneged on its commitments, openly played with fire and pitted itself against the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and none of this will end well.
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) August 3, 2022
"Public opinion will not be defied, and the trend of the times cannot be reversed.
"No country, force or individual shall misestimate the firm resolve, strong will and great capability of the Chinese Government and people to defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity and to achieve national reunification and rejuvenation."
Beijing promises 'strong' retaliation
While she did not elaborate on the repercussions Ms Pelosi or Washington would face, China's impending military drills surrounding Taiwan has put the rest of the world on alert.
"China will do everything necessary to firmly defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity. All consequences arising therefrom shall be borne by the US side and 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces," Ms Hua said.
"What I can say is that what needs to be done will be done and these measures will be resolute, strong and effective."
Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Ms Pelosi's visit an "out-and-out farce", stressing Taiwan's "reunification" with the mainland is "irreversible".
At the ASEAN FMM in Cambodia on Wednesday, SC & FM Wang Yi said Nancy Pelosi's visit to China's Taiwan region was a "complete farce" and "those who play with fire will perish by it, and those who offend China will be punished." pic.twitter.com/uaG3wRVmuc
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) August 3, 2022
Australia taking developments 'very seriously'
Deputy Prime Minister and Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles reiterated the government's concerns regarding China's military drills on Thursday.
"Obviously we’re taking it very seriously, we’re monitoring events very closely," he told ABC radio.
Mr Marles said Australia will continue to engage with the people of Taiwan and reiterated the government’s unflinching commitment to the One China policy.
"There should be no alteration to the status quo that exists on both sides of the Taiwan strait," he said.
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