Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and several members of Congress kicked off a high-profile Asian trip with their first stop in Singapore on Monday. The tour has attracted international attention over speculation of the third in line in the U.S. government visiting the democracy.
The delegation plans to visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, where meetings focused on “shared interests,” including trade, the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are planned, according to Pelosi’s office.
The itinerary from Pelosi’s office did not mention a Taiwan visit. Still, a senior Taiwanese government official and a U.S. official – both unnamed – told CNN on Monday that she is expected to visit Taiwan as part of the Asian tour, but it was unclear when she would arrive in Taipei.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday repeated earlier threats warning Mrs. Pelosi against stopping over in Taiwan.
Spokesman Zhao Lijian said the People’s Liberation Army “will not sit idly by” if Mrs. Pelosi were to visit. He didn’t elaborate on what actions China might take.
The French news agency AFP tweeted,
#BREAKING Pelosi has "right" to visit Taiwan, China should not create "crisis," US official says pic.twitter.com/G809On74L3
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 1, 2022
With the relations between the U.S. and China already strained, the visit will undoubtedly escalate the tensions further.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang didn’t directly reply when asked if the self-ruled island was preparing for Pelosi to visit.
“We always extend a warm welcome to distinguished foreign guests who visit our country,” he said. “We, of course, respect the visitors’ own planning.”
According to Business Insider, the Taiwanese dollar tanked on Sunday ahead of the visit, hitting a two-year low – $30 to $1 U.S. The market publication noted the drop hinged on the “heightened geopolitical tensions between China and the US.”
On Monday, the Taiwan dollar retraced some declines and hovered just above the $30 to $1 mark.