The White House said it saw no sign of increased military activity by China, despite Beijing warning Washington against playing "with fire" over unconfirmed reports of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi planning a visit to Taiwan.

China has warned the Washington over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's expected visit to Taiwan, calling it a “malicious provocation.”
China has warned the Washington over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's expected visit to Taiwan, calling it a “malicious provocation.” (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

The United States has seen no evidence of looming Chinese military activity against Taiwan, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said when asked about a possible visit to the island by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"(We've) seen no physical, tangible indications of anything untoward with respect to Taiwan," Kirby told reporters on Friday. 

Pelosi has not confirmed a potential trip to Taiwan.

China has warned against a potential visit to Taiwan by Pelosi, which is being billed as a show of support for Taiwan. 

Beijing has warned of unspecified "serious consequences" if she follows through with her plans.

Tensions around the island were a dominant topic on Thursday in a phone call between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which the Chinese leader warned his US counterpart “not to play with fire” over Taiwan.

READ MORE: Xi warns Biden not to 'play with fire' amid tensions over Taiwan

Potential first House Speaker visit in 25 years

If Pelosi goes ahead with the plan, she will be the first sitting US House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, following Republican Newt Gingrich's 1997 trip to meet with then-President Lee Teng-hui. 

Other sitting members of Congress may accompany Pelosi on her trip, which could come as soon as next week. Her office has not confirmed a date, but said the visit is possible. 

Beijing considers Taiwan as a “breakaway province," but the latter has maintained its independence since 1949 and enjoys diplomatic relations with at least 14 countries.

Interactions between Washington and Taipei have grown significantly since the tenure of former US President Donald Trump, with former and sitting lawmakers making trips to the island home to more than 25 million people.

The US formally recognised China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, and accepted Taiwan as part of the mainland under Washington’s One China policy.

READ MORE: Will the Biden-Xi phone call cool off or escalate Taiwan tensions?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies