Taiwan not on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Asia itinerary | DW | 31.07.2022

The office of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement on Sunday highlighting countries and places that would be visited during a congressional delegation’s trip to the Indo-Pacific region, with there being no mention of Taiwan on the itinerary. 

“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 press release.

The statement went on to say: “The trip will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The all-Democrat delegation includes Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks and members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Armed Services Committee.

China’s air force vows to ‘safeguard’ territory

On Sunday, spokesman for China’s air force, Shen Jinke, was quoted by state media as saying that Beijing “will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Jinke also said the air force had a a number of fighter aircraft capable of circling “the precious island of our motherland,” a reference to Taiwan. 

There has been intense speculation in the build-up to the delegation’s visit to the region, with China’s President Xi Jinping warning US President Joe Biden this week that “those who play with fire will only get burnt.”

Why Taiwan is such a sensitive issue for US-China relations

China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to reunite the democratically governed island with the mainland, even if it means using force. 

In light of Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, concerns that China would turn that threat into reality are rising. 

Beijing has warned of “serious repercussions” should Pelosi visit Taiwan, as this would be a dramatic symbol of support for the island and the first time a US House of Representatives speaker has traveled there in 25 years. 

Pelosi is known to be a longtime critic of China and has condemned human rights violations in the country. 

Washington follows a “one China” policy and recognizes Beijing instead of Taipei diplomatically, meaning that Taiwan does not have any official relations with the United States.

However, the US provides considerable political and military support to Taiwan while stopping short of formal diplomatic relations.

kb (Reuters, AFP)

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