US officials have concluded in recent days that China’s belligerent threats against the speaker are only an intimidation strategy, the congressional official said.
There has been no significant redeployment of US military assets to the region in response to Chinese rhetoric about the speaker’s visit, a senior US defense official told reporters on Friday, but several warships are already in the South China and East China Seas. are in.
President Joe Biden’s national security and military advisers cautioned Pelosi against the trip, as Politico previously reported, given the escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing. In a phone call last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Biden that, when it comes to Taiwan, “players with fire will eventually burn out.”
Beijing considers Taiwan an inseparable part of China and strongly challenges US interference in domestic affairs.
Meanwhile, in Washington, fears have risen in recent months that Xi plans to invade the island. The US maintains its so-called “one China” policy and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but has reaffirmed Taipei’s right to self-defense and has sent billions of dollars worth of weapons to boost its arsenal.
Pelosi was in Singapore on Monday as part of a four-nation swing through Asia. He is also scheduled to visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan during the visit. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D.N.Y.) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) are among the lawmakers accompanying Pelosi.
“We look forward to productive meetings that will continue to inform Congress’s work to advance our values and interests and strengthen our partnership in the region,” Pelosi said in a statement over the weekend.
His office declined to confirm his visit to Taiwan, citing security risks for the speaker, who is second in line to the US presidency. POLITICO is withholding the date for Pelosi’s expected arrival.
In the past few weeks, the confrontation between Pelosi and the Biden administration over her travel plans has spilled into public view. Biden himself said that the military feels “it’s not a good idea right now” to visit Pelosi’s island.
Although Pelosi has declined to address his travel plans, he told reporters on Friday that Congress should play a bigger role in advancing Biden’s security goals in the Indo-Pacific, noting that, “we have global There are responsibilities.”
Pelosi has been one of China’s most persistent hawks over the past three decades, even taking on her party when it comes to Beijing’s threat to American security and economic interests. It has supported human rights concerns in China, including the genocide of Uighur Muslims and the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.
Ranking China in the process, US and Taiwanese figures have become bold about showing their support for the relationship. Bi-Khim Hsiao, the de facto representative of the Democratic island in America, attended Biden’s inauguration. Four months later, John Hennessy-Niland became the US ambassador to Palau. First sitting US envoy to visit Taiwan Since Washington formally severed ties with Taipei in 1979.
And China’s aggression has prompted current and former officials, including lawmakers on both sides, to call for a wholesale change in the US currency toward Taiwan, including eliminating the so-called “strategic ambiguity” doctrine that undermined US policy towards Taiwan. has directed. last four decades.
Biden himself has said on three occasions that the US would come to Taiwan’s defense in case of an invasion attempt by China – clarifying the ambiguity – but he and his officials continued to insist that there was no change in US Taiwan policy. Has happened.
On Monday, China’s Maritime Security Administration announced a new set of military exercises in the South China Sea for August 2-6, building on a series of live-fire artillery exercises announced last week. Monday is also the People’s Liberation Army’s 95th birthday, a time when the practice is normally performed to mark the occasion.
The Japan-based USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier has been patrolling the South China Sea for the past week, and late last month, the destroyer USS Benfold crossed the Taiwan Strait three times within a week – a move Beijing called “provocation”. As exploded it considers the narrow waterway between mainland China and Taiwan as part of its internal waters.
Paul McLeary contributed to this report.