Beijing vows serious military consequences if Pelosi visits Taiwan
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's rumoured plan for a trip to Taiwan has infuriated China and left the White House with a serious geopolitical headache.
On Monday, China warned of "serious consequences" if Nancy Pelosi were to proceed with a visit to Taiwan in the coming weeks.
Second in line to the presidency, Mrs Pelosi would be the highest ranking US politician to travel to the self-governing island democracy since 1997.
However, China sees self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be part of the country again - and has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve this.
The potential trip has not only rankled Beijing - the Biden administration has reportedly tried to dissuade the California Democrat from going.
Last week, President Joe Biden told reporters "the military thinks it's not a good idea", but his White House has called Chinese rhetoric against any such trip "clearly unhelpful and not necessary".
The state department says Mrs Pelosi has not announced any travel and the US approach to Taiwan remains unchanged.
There is strong bipartisan support for Taiwan among the American public and in the US Congress.
And over a congressional career spanning 35 years, Speaker Pelosi has been a vocal critic of China.
She has denounced its human rights record, met with pro-democracy dissidents, and also visited Tiananmen Square to commemorate victims of the 1989 massacre.
Mrs Pelosi's original plan was to visit Taiwan in April, but it was postponed after she tested positive for Covid-19.
She has declined to discuss details of the trip, but said last week that it was "important for us to show support for Taiwan".