U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi May Soon Visit Taiwan
Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker, has embarked on a closely watched tour of several Asian countries.
Biden administration officials said they expected her trip to include a stop in Taiwan, which would be the highest-level visit by an American official in 25 years. But Pelosi has not said whether she will go to the self-governing island, NYT reports.
Speculation about that possibility has jangled nerves in both Beijing and Washington. China, which considers Taiwan its territory, has issued increasingly sharp warnings in recent days that a Pelosi visit would provoke a response, perhaps a military one.
Administration officials have conceded that they do not know the extent to which China is willing to risk a confrontation.
Pelosi had proposed a trip to Taiwan earlier this year. (It was postponed because she contracted the coronavirus.) She was expected to arrive in Singapore today, and she has said that she will also visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
The Biden administration has grown increasingly worried that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, might try to move against Taiwan within the next year and a half. During a two-hour phone call on Thursday, Xi warned Biden against “playing with fire” on Taiwan, according to a Chinese government statement that did not explicitly mention Pelosi.
In the past year, China’s military planes have increasingly probed Taiwan’s airspace. In June, Beijing raised the stakes by declaring jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait. And on Saturday, China’s military said it would conduct drills with live ammunition off Fujian Province, about 80 miles from Taiwan.