US House Speaker Pelosi Begins Asia Tour; no mention of Taiwan

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill Friday, July 29, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi begins a tour of four Asian countries on Sunday, her office said, without mentioning Taiwan amid intense speculation that she could visit the self-governing island claimed by the China.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a Congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region, including visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan,” her office said in a press release.

The statement said the tour would include those countries, but did not say whether Pelosi, who is No. 3 in the presidential succession, could make any other stops.

“The trip will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was part of the listed delegation.

China sees visits by US officials to Taiwan as an encouraging signal for the island’s pro-independence camp. Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

President Xi Jinping on Thursday warned his US counterpart Joe Biden that Washington should abide by the one-China principle and that “those who play with fire shall perish.”

Biden told Xi that US policy on Taiwan has not changed and that Washington strongly opposes unilateral efforts to alter the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Chinese Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted by state media as saying on Sunday that Beijing will “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity”, referring to Taiwan.

Shen told a military airshow that the Air Force has many types of fighter jets capable of circling “the precious island of our homeland”. He said “China’s air force has the firm will, full confidence and sufficient capability to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

A unit of the People’s Liberation Army said on the Twitter-like social network Weibo on Friday: “Prepare for war!”

Prominent Chinese commentator Hu Xijin said on Saturday he deleted a tweet warning of military retaliation if US warplanes escort Pelosi on a visit to Taiwan, after Twitter blocked his account.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the United States had seen no evidence of impending Chinese military activity against Taiwan.