BEIJING (AP) — The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, confirmed on Sunday that she would visit four Asian countries this week, but made no mention of a possible stop in Taiwan, which has angered Beijing, which The island claims democracy as its own. region.
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 perpetuate its decades-long de facto independence. 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.
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 the government of Taiwan has the means to defend itself.
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.” “Those who play with fire will be destroyed by it,” the foreign ministry said.
The ruling party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, has flown an increasing number of fighters and bombers around Taiwan to intimidate the island.
Referring to Taiwan, military spokesman Colonel Shen Jinke said on Sunday, “The Air Force’s multi-type fighter jets fly around the homeland’s treasured island, enhancing its ability to uphold 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.