Pelosi meets Singapore leaders at start of Asia tour – New York Greeley Tribune

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held talks with officials in Singapore on Monday at the start of her Asian tour, as questions swirled over a possible halt in Taiwan that has heightened tensions with Beijing.

The foreign ministry said Pelosi met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, President Halimah Yacoub and other cabinet members.

The ministry said in a statement that Li welcomed the US commitment to stronger engagement with the region and that the two sides discussed ways to deepen US economic engagement through initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

Li and Pelosi also discussed the war in Ukraine, tensions around Taiwan and mainland China, and climate change. Li “highlighted the importance of stable US-China relations for regional peace and security,” adding that Pelosi may visit Taiwan in a clear indication of reports.

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

She did not confirm news reports that she may visit Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory. Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone call with US President Joe Biden last week warned against interference in Beijing’s dealings with the island.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated earlier warnings on Monday that “if she insists on traveling there will be dire consequences.”

He did not specify any specific results. “We are fully prepared to deal with any situation,” he said. “The People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take strong and resolute steps to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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China is continuously increasing diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan. Threats of retaliation over Pelosi’s visit have sparked concerns of a new crisis in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two sides, that could affect global markets and supply chains.

Pelosi was to attend a cocktail reception with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore on Monday. There is no media access for his visit, which has been kept tightly under wraps.

She is due in Malaysia on Tuesday. A parliament official, who was not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be named, said Pelosi would meet with the speaker of the Malaysian lower house, Azhar Azizan Haroon. No further details were immediately available.

Kim’s office said in a statement that Pelosi is scheduled to meet with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo in Seoul on Thursday to discuss security, economic cooperation and the climate crisis in the Indo-Pacific region.

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She declined to give further details about her itinerary, including when she will be arriving in South Korea and how long she will be.

Pelosi’s schedule for Wednesday is unclear and there is no word on when she will travel to Japan.

Beijing sees official US contact with Taiwan as an incentive to make the island’s 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 has tried to reassure Beijing that there was no reason to “shock” and that if such a visit takes place, it would signal no change in US policy.

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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 the Taiwan Relations Act, a 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.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told CNN that the US “should not be intimidated” by China’s rhetoric or threats of retaliation if Pelosi visits Taiwan.

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“We want to make sure that when he travels abroad, he can do so safely and securely,” Kirby told CNN on Monday. “There is no reason for Chinese rhetoric. There is no reason to take action. It is not unusual for congressional leaders to visit Taiwan, this is in line with our policy and in line with our support to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.

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 over human rights and wanted to visit Taiwan earlier this year.

Pelosi’s delegation includes 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 House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy; and Andy Kim, member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.

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