Nancy Pelosi set to visit Taiwan despite China warnings: Report | World News

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set to visit Taiwan on Tuesday, two people briefed on the matter said, while China warned its military would never “look idly by” if it visited the self-governed island controlled by Beijing. claimed.

Pelosi, who embarked on an Asia trip in Singapore earlier on Monday, was due to spend Tuesday night in Taiwan, people said.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it would not comment on reports of Pelosi’s travel plans.

Amid widespread speculation about whether she would make a stop in Taiwan, Pelosi’s office said Sunday she was leading a congressional delegation to the region that would include visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Taiwan was not mentioned.

A source told Reuters that the United States had informed some allies about Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Another source said that during her stay in Taiwan, Pelosi would meet with some activists who have been outspoken on Chinese rights issues.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said earlier on Monday that it would be “gross interference in China’s internal affairs” if Pelosi were to visit Taiwan, warning that it would lead to “very serious developments and effects”.

“We want to reaffirm that China is standing by, that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never stand idly by and that China will react decisively and take strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao told a regular audience. daily briefing.

When asked what measures the PLA might take, Zhao said, “if she dares to go, let’s wait and see.”

China sees visits by US officials to Taiwan as an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the island. Washington has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is required by US law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

A visit from Pelosi, second in line to the US presidency and a long-time critic of China, would come amid deteriorating ties between Washington and Beijing. Republican Newt Gingrich was the last speaker of the House to visit Taiwan in 1997.

A video by the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, showing scenes of military exercises and preparations and posted to state media sites Monday evening, urged troops to “stand in battle array, be ready to fight on command, all incoming enemies.”

The White House dismissed the Chinese rhetoric as baseless and inappropriate. “It is not uncommon for congressional leaders to travel to Taiwan,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in an interview with CNN early Monday.

“We as a country should not be intimidated by that rhetoric or those possible actions. This is an important journey for the Speaker and we will do everything we can to support her.”

BIDEN-XI CALL

During a phone call last Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden that Washington must abide by the One China Principle and that “those who play with fire will perish.”

Biden told Xi that US policy towards Taiwan had not changed and that Washington strongly opposes unilateral attempts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

On Monday, Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang did not immediately comment on whether Pelosi will visit Thursday, as local media had speculated.

“We always warmly welcome visits to our country from distinguished foreign guests,” he told reporters in Taipei.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan would trigger Beijing’s strongest countermeasures in years, but he didn’t expect it to lead to a major military conflict.

“China has reiterated in clear terms that it is opposed to Taiwan’s separatism. The US has reiterated many times that its one-China policy has not changed and that it opposes any change to the status quo on both sides of the straits. from Taiwan,” he said. .

“Unless by accident, I am confident that neither side would intentionally take military action that could pose a major security risk.”

SINGAPORE VISIT

On Monday, Pelosi and her delegation met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, where they discussed relations between the straits, the war in Ukraine and climate change, Singapore’s foreign ministry said.

“PM Lee stressed the importance of stable US-China relations for regional peace and security,” it said.

Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never refrained from using force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the people can decide the island’s future.

Last Wednesday, Biden told reporters he thought the US military thought Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “not a good idea right now.”

On Monday, CNN said, citing a Taiwanese official and a US official, both unidentified, that Pelosi was expected to land and stay overnight in Taiwan in the coming days.

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