House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to leave for a trip to the Asia-Pacific region Friday, but it’s still unclear whether her stops will include Taiwan, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman, had no comment Thursday when asked about her plans. The speaker and her staff have repeatedly refused to confirm or deny her travel schedule, citing security concerns.
Pelosi’s itinerary is set to include stops in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, according to another person. Both people asked for anonymity because the plans aren’t public.
Taiwan, a self-governing island that China regards as part of its territory, has been a source of tension between the US and China for years. If Pelosi decides to stop there, she would be the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Reports that she was considering a visit have drawn a harsh reaction from China.
Taiwan was one of the central issues discussed during a call Thursday between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Biden warned Xi against military action to reunify Taiwan with the mainland but said he doesn’t support a formal declaration of independence by the island.
China views any Taiwan trip by Pelosi as a violation of the deal that helped establish ties between Washington and Beijing a half century ago, including an American promise to cease formal relations with Taipei.
The White House hasn’t taken a public position on any Taiwan visit, saying it’s Pelosi’s decision, but Defense Department officials have privately expressed unease to the speaker and her staff. However, lawmakers in both parties are encouraging Pelosi to make the stop in Taiwan, saying not doing so following China’s protestations would amount to acquiescing to pressure from Beijing.
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