US Home Speaker Pelosi begins Asian tour with out mentioning Taiwan

Chessmen are seen in front of the flags of China and Taiwan in this January 25, 2022 illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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BEIJING, July 31 (Reuters) – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi begins a tour of four Asian countries on Sunday, her office said without mentioning Taiwan, amid intense speculation that she is the self-governing island claimed by China could visit.

“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 release.

The press release said the visit would include those countries, but did not specify whether Pelosi, who is No. 3 in the line of presidential succession, could make more stops.

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

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

China sees US officials’ visits to Taiwan as an encouraging signal to the island’s pro-independence camp. Washington does not maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is required by law to provide the island with means of self-defense.

President Xi Jinping on Thursday warned his US counterpart Joe Biden that Washington should stick to the one China principle and “those who play with fire will perish.” Continue reading

Biden told Xi US policy on Taiwan has not changed and Washington firmly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine cross-strait peace and stability.

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

Shen said at a military air show that the Air Force has many types of fighter jets capable of orbiting “our motherland’s precious island.” He said China’s “air force has strong will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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

Prominent Chinese commentator Hu Xijin said Saturday he deleted a tweet warning of military reprisals if US fighter jets escort Pelosi on a visit to Taiwan after Twitter suspended his account. Continue reading

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday the United States had seen no evidence of threatened Chinese military activity against Taiwan. Continue reading

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Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Adaptation by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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