House Speaker is expected to visit Taipei, Taiwanese and US officials, say:

United States House speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan as part of her tour of Asia, despite warnings from Biden government officials who are concerned about: China’s response to such a high-profile visit.

The stop — the first for a US House speaker in 25 years — is currently off Pelosi’s public route and comes at a time when US-China relations are already at an all-time low.

The reports came from a senior Taiwanese government official – who said Pelosi was expected to stay overnight in Taiwan – and a US official. It is unclear when exactly Pelosi will land in Taipei.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at her weekly Capitol press conference in August. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) (Getty)

The US official added that Defense Department officials are working around the clock to monitor Chinese movements in the region and devise a plan to keep her safe.

During a regular foreign ministry briefing on Monday, China warned of the “extreme political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory and reiterated that its military “will not sit idle.” “. if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is under threat.

“We want to tell the US once again that China is standing by and that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never stand by. China will react decisively and take strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters. , when asked about the consequences of Pelosi leading a congressional delegation to Taipei.

“As for what measures, if she dares to go, let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

A Taiwanese warship fires an anti-aircraft missile during naval exercises on the island’s east coast. (AP)

National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said Monday that the Biden administration will support Pelosi on a trip to Taiwan.

“We want to make sure that when she travels abroad she can do so safely and securely and we’re going to make sure of that. There is no reason for the Chinese rhetoric. There is no reason to take action. It is not uncommon for congressional leaders travel to Taiwan,” Kirby told CNN .’s Brianna Keilar New day.

“We shouldn’t be like a country — we shouldn’t be intimidated by that rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important journey for the speaker and we’re going to do everything we can to support her,” Kirby continued.

Asked if the US was prepared for the fallout from China during the visit, Kirby said “nothing will change in our policy”.

“No change in our focus on trying to keep a free and safe and open Indo-Pacific,” he said.

The Taiwan issue remains one of the most controversial. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping talked about it extensively in a two-hour and 17-minute phone call on Thursday as tensions mounted between Washington and Beijing.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has pledged to resist Chinese military threats against the self-governed area. (AP)

“The Taiwan issue is the most sensitive and important core issue in China-US relations,” China’s ambassador to the US Qin Gang said at the Aspen Security Forum in July.

Pelosi will meet with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Halimah Yacob and other cabinet members Monday at the start of her Asian tour, with officials in Singapore.

Lee welcomed a US commitment to strong engagement with the region, and the two sides discussed ways to deepen US economic engagement through initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the State Department said in a statement.

Lee and Pelosi also discussed the war in Ukraine, tensions around Taiwan and mainland China, and climate change.

Lee “emphasized the importance of stable US-China relations for regional peace and security,” it added, in a clear allusion to Taiwanese reports

In a statement over the weekend, Pelosi said she will visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance”.

She did not confirm any news reports that she would be able to visit Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory.

In this photo from the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shake hands at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore, Monday, August 1, 2022. Pelosi arrived early in the morning. Singapore Monday kicked off her Asian tour as questions swirled about a possible stop in Taiwan that has fueled tensions with Beijing. (Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore via AP) (AP)

Biden said last month that the US military opposed Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, but has since declined to elaborate on the warnings. The White House has said it is up to the Speaker of the House where she travels, and they have little say in her decision.

Still, government officials have worked in recent weeks to clarify the risks of visiting Taiwan in meetings with Pelosi and her team. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently said he had discussed a visit to Asia with Pelosi.

The government takes extra care of Pelosi’s safety when she travels abroad, as she is in the presidential line of succession.

Government officials worry that Pelosi’s journey comes at a particularly tense time as Xi is expected to run for an unprecedented third term at the upcoming Chinese Communist Party Congress. Chinese party officials are expected to begin laying the groundwork for that conference in the coming weeks, putting pressure on leaders in Beijing to show strength.

Chinese naval forces have held regular military exercises in waters off Taiwan in recent years. (AP)

Officials also believe that the Chinese leadership does not fully understand political dynamics in the United States, leading to a misunderstanding of the significance of Pelosi’s potential visit.

The officials say China may mistake Pelosi’s visit for an official government visit, as she and Biden are both Democrats. Government officials are concerned that China does not separate Pelosi much, if at all, from Biden.

Pelosi has long been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party. She has met with pro-democracy dissidents and the Dalai Lama – the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who remains a thorn in the side of the Chinese government.

A Taiwanese Air Force fighter jet fires an air-to-air missile during major military exercises. (AP)

In 1991, Pelosi unfurled a black and white banner in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate the victims of the 1989 massacre, which read “against those who died for democracy”.

In recent years, she has expressed her support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Why the dispute in the South China Sea matters

The Chinese embassy in the United States has objected to her expected trip, which was scheduled for April before Pelosi tested positive for COVID-19, and urged members of Congress to tell the speaker not to make it.

Many Democrats and Republicans in Congress said it was Pelosi’s right to travel to Taiwan.

Other members seemed more cautious about the diplomatically sensitive journey.

– Reported with Associated Press

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