Written by: David E. Sanger and Vivian Vango
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began a scintillating tour of Asia on Sunday, an administration officials say they now expect will include a halt in Taiwan, despite China’s increasingly scathing warnings in recent days that its own A visit to the -ruled island would provoke a reaction, perhaps a military one.
Pelosi was scheduled to arrive in Singapore on Monday, after a weekend stopover in Hawaii to consult with US commanders responsible for the Indo-Pacific. She said in a statement that she was planning to travel with a congressional delegation for high-level meetings in Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, and did not mention Taiwan.
But it would not be unusual to exclude Taiwan from a declaration given security concerns, and aides to President Joe Biden said they expected to go ahead with plans for the highest-level visit by a US official to the island in 25 years. . Pelosi may still change her mind about traveling to Taiwan, administration officials said, but said that seemed unlikely.
Biden’s aides said they had decided against directly asking Pelosi to cancel his visit, largely because of his respect for Congressional independence, forged during his 36 years in the Senate. He is also clearly reluctant to confront Chinese threats, including Beijing’s warning that the United States was “playing with fire”, following Biden’s nearly 2 1/s clash with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. There was a 2-hour conversation.
At its core, some officials said, the administration concluded after the call that there were potential domestic and geo-strategic risks of trying to curtail travel — including directing China that U.S. officials be self-governing of 23 million people. Democracy, which China claims did more than allow its own – Pelosi to proceed.
But he said that while he had gathered some intelligence on China’s possible responses, he was unwilling to release it publicly – and admitted he did not know to what extent Chinese officials were responsible for the confrontation. Was ready to take the risk.
US officials were carefully monitoring the Chinese government’s preparedness over the weekend, trying to understand Beijing’s intentions. The most obvious signs they saw involved the Strait of Taiwan, where provocations, tests and signals surfaced weekly. The Chinese military announced on Saturday with less notice than usual that it would conduct exercises with live ammunition in the waters of southeastern Fujian province, about 80 miles from Taiwan.