US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed on Sunday that she would visit four Asian countries this week, but made no mention of a possible stoppage in Taiwan, which has heightened tensions with Beijing, which is ceding the island democracy to its own. claims area.
Pelosi said in a statement that she is leading a congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance”.
Pelosi has yet to confirm reports that she may travel to Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone call with his US counterpart Joe Biden on Thursday warned against interference in Beijing’s dealings with the island. Beijing sees official US contact with Taiwan as an incentive to make its decades-long de facto independence permanent, a move US leaders say they do not support. Pelosi, the head of one of the three branches of the US government, will be the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.
The Biden administration did not explicitly urge Pelosi to avoid Taiwan, but did try to reassure Beijing that there was no reason to “be shocked” and that if such a visit did take place, it would not be a change in US policy. will indicate.
Pelosi’s statement said, “Under the strong leadership of President Biden, the United States remains firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific is the key to prosperity in our country and around the world.” is important.”
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the Communists won a civil war on the mainland. Both sides say they are one country but disagree as to which government has the right of national leadership.
They have no official ties but are linked to billions of dollars in trade and investment. The United States changed diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but maintains informal relations with the island. Washington is bound by federal law to see that Taiwan has the means to defend itself.
Washington’s “One China Policy” says it does not take a stand on the position of the two sides, but wants their dispute to be resolved peacefully. Beijing promotes an alternative “one China principle” which states that they are one country and the Communist Party is its leader. Members of Congress publicly supported Pelosi’s interest in moving to Taiwan, despite Chinese opposition.
They want to avoid Beijing being seen as a yielder. Beijing has given no details on how Pelosi might react if it visits Taiwan, but the Defense Ministry warned last week that the military would take “strong measures to thwart any outside interference.” The Foreign Ministry said, “Those who play with fire will be destroyed by it.
The ruling party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, has flown an increasing number of fighter jets and bombers around Taiwan to intimidate the island. Military spokesman Colonel Shen Jinke, referring to Taiwan, said on Sunday, -type fighter jets fly around the homeland’s treasured island, enhancing its ability to maintain national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Pelosi said her delegation included US Representative Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Mark Takano, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs; Suzanne DelBene, Deputy Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; Raja Krishnamurthy, member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Andy Kim, a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees.
The trip to Taiwan will be a career cornerstone for Pelosi, who is increasingly using her position in Congress as the US envoy to the global stage. She has long challenged China on human rights and wanted to visit Taiwan earlier this year. In 1991, as a new member of Congress, Pelosi upset Chinese officials by hoisting a banner on Tiananmen Square in central Beijing after the Communist Party had crushed pro-democracy protests two years earlier.
“It’s important for us to show support for Taiwan,” Pelosi, a Democrat from California, told reporters this month. But she made it clear that she was not advocating for a change in US policy. “When it comes to Taiwan, none of us ever said we were for freedom,” she said. “It is for Taiwan to decide.”
On Friday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby tried to play down the concerns. “There’s no reason to come to attack him,” Kirby said at the White House. “There is no reason why there has been no change in US policy regarding One China.