KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday for the second leg of the Asian Tour, surrounded by an expected stop in Taiwan, escalate tensions with Beijing,
National news agency Bernama reported that the plane carrying Pelosi and his delegation landed at the air base amid tight security. Barnama said he met Azhar Azizan Haroon, Speaker of the lower house in parliament and adjourned for lunch with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yacoub.
Although no official announcement has been made, local media in Taiwan reported that Pelosi would arrive in Taipei on Tuesday night, becoming the highest-ranked US official to travel in more than 25 years. The United Daily News, Liberty Times and China Times – Taiwan’s three biggest national newspapers – cited unnamed sources as saying she would fly to Taipei and spend the night after flying to Malaysia.
China, which considers self-ruled Taiwan as its territory, has warned of consequences, saying its military will “never sit idly by” if Pelosi goes ahead with the visit. China’s threats of retaliation have raised concerns of a new crisis in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two sides, that could affect global markets and supply chains.
White House on Monday condemned Beijing’s rhetoricStating that the US has no interest in deepening tensions with China and “will not take any choice or saber.”
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby underlined that the decision to visit the self-governing island was ultimately Pelosi’s. He said members of Congress have been visiting Taiwan regularly over the years.
Kirby said administration officials are concerned that Beijing may use the visit as an excuse to take provocative retaliatory measures, including military action such as missiles in the Taiwan Straits or around Taiwan, or Taiwan’s airspace. This includes flying and conducting large-scale naval exercises. in the strait.
Kirby said, “Simply put, in line with long-standing US policy, Beijing has been using a potential visit as a pretext to turn some sort of crisis into some sort of crisis or to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait. There’s no reason to do it.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also urged China to “act responsibly” if Pelosi goes ahead with the visit.
“If the speaker decides to travel, and China tries to create any kind of crisis or escalate tensions, it will be entirely on Beijing,” he told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York. “We are looking for her if she decides to travel, act responsibly and does not engage in any escalation going forward.”
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the Communists won a civil war on the mainland. The US maintains informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan, while it recognizes Beijing as the government of China.
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-ranked US official elected to visit Taiwan. Since then – Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997,
Pelosi Begins his Asian tour in Singapore But his alleged visit to Taiwan on Monday has caused an uproar in the region.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “highlighted the importance of stable US-China relations for regional peace and security” during talks with Pelosi, the city-state’s foreign ministry said. This was echoed in Tokyo by Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who said stable relations between the two rival powers “are also extremely important to the international community.”
The Philippines urged the US and China to be “responsible actors” in the region. “It is important for the United States and China to ensure continuous communication to prevent any miscalculations and escalation of tensions,” said foreign affairs spokeswoman Teresa Daza.
China continues to exert diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan, including the possibility of its annexation by force. China cut all contact with the government of Taiwan in 2016, when President Tsai Ing-wen refused to support his claim that the island and the mainland together form a Chinese nation, with the Communist regime in Beijing being the only legitimate government. Is.
According to Kim’s office, Pelosi is scheduled to meet with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo in Seoul to discuss security, economic cooperation and the climate crisis in the Indo-Pacific region. Pelosi is also scheduled to visit Japan, but it is not clear when she will be there.