Reports that the House speaker could visit Taiwan have riled China; analysts say she may yet do so in an unofficial capacity
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, has confirmed a trip to Asia this week, it is not clear if it would include a stop in Taiwan.
In a press release on Sunday, Pelosi said a delegation would travel to the Indo-Pacific “to reaffirm America’s strong and unshakeable commitment to our allies and friends in the region”.
According to The Guardian, the departure of the delegation from Hawaii on Sunday with stops planned in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. Pelosi announced that “high-level meetings” would be held in those nations to talk about promoting “shared interests and values,” such as peace and security. The word Taiwan was not used in the news release.
Pelosi had planned to travel to Taiwan in April, but she had to cancel after getting Covid-19. Beijing has been incensed by recent reports that Pelosi planned to visit in August and has vowed to take military action in response. According to some analysts, this is one of the most perilous times for cross-strait ties in recent history.
China strongly takes a dim view of any actions that seem to support Taiwan as an independent sovereign state since it sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will ultimately be restored. China’s president, Xi Jinping, cautioned Joe Biden about what he views as China’s “territorial integrity” during a phone chat that lasted more than two hours. “Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Xi said.
Despite not having any official links to Taiwan, the US still keeps cordial relations with the island nation and is required by law to provide self-defense weapons.
The Taiwanese government is balancing its desire to maintain the security of the status quo while still fostering closer ties with the US, so it won’t comment on a Pelosi visit.
“Beijing will have to select a response that visibly rises above the already high baseline of activity,” Hsiao said.