Pelosi hoped to visit Taiwan, say Taiwanese and US officials

The Taiwanese official added that she is expected to spend the night in Taiwan. It is unclear exactly when Pelosi will land in Taipei.

Pelosi arrived in Singapore on Monday for the first official leg of her Asia tour, where she met with the country’s president, prime minister and other top officials.

On Tuesday, Malaysian state media Bernama confirmed that Pelosi and a congressional delegation had arrived in the country and were scheduled to meet with the prime minister and the speaker of parliament.

The delegation’s itinerary includes stops in South Korea and Japan, but no official mention of a visit to Taiwan has been made.

During a regular Foreign Ministry briefing on Monday, China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory, reiterating that its military “will not stand by.” arms crossed” if Beijing feels that its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” are being threatened.

Nancy Pelosi kicks off high-profile tour of Asia with a visit to Singapore

“We would like to tell the US once again that China stands by and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will respond with determination and take strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. he told reporters, when asked about the fallout from Pelosi leading a congressional delegation to Taipei.

“As for the measures, if he dares to go, then let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

Although China’s military did not mention Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said it would “bury incoming enemies” in a video posted online Monday showcasing its weaponry and combat tactics. “Stand firm and ready for combat command; bury all incoming enemies,” read a message posted on Weibo.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the administration’s line that it’s up to Pelosi to visit, adding that “we don’t know what Speaker Pelosi intends to do.”

“Congress is an independent and equal branch of government,” Blinken said at the United Nations on Monday afternoon. The decision is entirely up to the Speaker.

Blinken said such a visit is unprecedented, noting that previous speakers and members of Congress have visited Taiwan.

“So if the speaker decides to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or escalate tensions, that would be entirely Beijing’s fault,” Blinken said. “We are looking for them, should she decide to visit, to act responsibly and not participate in any escalation in the future.”

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob shake hands at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore on Monday, August 1.

National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said Monday that the Biden administration will support Pelosi on a trip to Taiwan.

“We want to make sure that when you travel abroad, you can do so safely and we will make sure of that. There is no reason for Chinese rhetoric. There is no reason to take any action.” It’s not uncommon for congressional leaders to travel to Taiwan,” Kirby told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on “New Day.”

“We should not be a country, we should not be intimidated by that rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important journey for the speaker and we will do everything we can to support her. Kirby continued.

Asked if the United States was prepared for fallout with China from the visit, Kirby said “there is no change in our policy. There is no change in our approach to trying to keep the Indo-Pacific free, safe and open.”

The Taiwan issue remains one of the most contentious. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed it at length in a two-hour, 17-minute phone call on Thursday, as tensions between Washington and Beijing mounted.

“The Taiwan issue is the most sensitive and important core issue in China-US relations,” Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang said at the Aspen Security Forum in July.

While Biden has publicly said the US military didn’t think it was a good time for Pelosi to visit Taiwan, he stopped short of directly telling her not to go, according to two sources.

Administration officials have worked in recent weeks to brief the House speaker on the risks of visiting the democratic, self-governing island of 24 million residents, including at briefings from the Pentagon and other administration officials. But Biden didn’t think it was his place to tell her she shouldn’t go, and she has avoided commenting publicly on his trip since his opening statement on July 21.

Biden said last month that the US military was opposed to Pelosi visiting Taiwan, though he has since declined to elaborate on the warnings. The White House has said it is up to the Speaker of the House where she travels.

Still, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently said he had discussed a visit to Asia with Pelosi.

The administration is especially concerned about Pelosi’s safety when she travels abroad because she is in the presidential line of succession.

Administration officials are concerned that Pelosi’s trip comes at a particularly tense time, as Xi is expected to seek an unprecedented third term at the next Chinese Communist Party congress. Chinese party officials are expected to start laying the groundwork for that conference in the coming weeks, pressing leaders in Beijing to show strength.

Officials also believe that Chinese leaders do not fully understand the political dynamics in the United States, leading to a misunderstanding about the significance of Pelosi’s possible visit. Officials say China may be mistaking Pelosi’s visit for an official administration visit, since both she and Biden are Democrats. Administration officials worry that China will not separate Pelosi from Biden very much, if at all.

Pelosi has long been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party. She has met with pro-democracy dissidents and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who remains a thorn in the Chinese government’s side. In 1991, Pelosi unfurled a black-and-white banner in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate the victims of the 1989 massacre, reading, “To those who died for democracy.” In recent years, she has expressed her support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

What you need to know about Pelosi's possible visit to Taiwan
China’s embassy in the United States has objected to her expected trip, which was planned for April before Pelosi tested positive for Covid-19, urging members of Congress to tell the speaker not to.

“I would say there has been a lot of pressure from the Chinese embassy to discourage a trip to Taiwan,” Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington, co-chair of the US-China congressional task force, told CNN. “I just don’t think it’s their business to tell us what we should be doing. That was my message back.”

Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the US, responded that his office is in “regular contact” with members of Congress, including Larsen.

“On the Taiwan issue, we have made our position loud and clear,” Pengyu said. “The Embassy is making every effort to prevent peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the stability of China-US relations from being harmed by the possible visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.”

“We hope serious consequences can be avoided,” he added. “This is in the common interest of both China and the United States.”

Many Democrats and Republicans in Congress said that Pelosi had the right to travel to Taiwan.

“It is the sole decision of Speaker Pelosi whether or not to travel to Taiwan, not to any other country,” said Illinois Republican Rep. Darin LaHood, Larsen’s Republican counterpart on the US-China task force. “In our democratic system, we operate with separate but equal branches of government.”

“It is inappropriate for foreign governments, including the Chinese government, to attempt to influence the ability or right of the speaker, members of Congress, or other US government officials to travel to Taiwan or anywhere else in the world,” he added.

Other members seemed to be more cautious about the diplomatically sensitive trip.

California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress, said she “has always supported Taiwan.”

But when asked if a trip to Taiwan now would send the wrong message, Chu said: “You could look at it one of two ways. One is that relations are very strained at the moment. But on the other hand, you could say that maybe there is when Taiwan must also show strength and support.”

When asked what he thought, he said: “I leave it up to those who are going to make that decision.”

This story has been updated with additional details on Monday.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler, Nectar Gan, Yong Xiong, Hannah Ritchie, Chandelis Duster and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

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