Pelosi should visit Taiwan, say Taiwanese and US officials | CNN Politics



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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan as part of her Asia tour, according to a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official, despite warnings from Biden administration officials, who are concerned about China’s response to such a high-profile visit. .

The stoppage — the first for a U.S. House speaker in 25 years — is not currently part of Pelosi’s public itinerary and comes at a time when U.S.-China relations are already at an all-time low.

The Taiwanese official added that she should spend the night in Taiwan. It is not known exactly when Pelosi will land in Taipei.

The US official added that Defense Department officials were working around the clock to monitor all Chinese movements in the region and get a plan to ensure its security.

The issue of Taiwan – a self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory – remains one of the most contentious. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed it at length during a two-hour, 17-minute phone call Thursday, as tensions rose between Washington and Beijing.

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

Biden said last month that the US military had opposed Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, though it has since declined to elaborate on the warnings. The White House said it was up to the Speaker of the House where she was going and they had little say in her decision.

Still, administration officials have worked over the past few weeks to clarify the risks of visiting Taiwan in meetings with Pelosi and his team. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently said he had discussed a visit to Asia with Pelosi.

The administration takes extra precautions for Pelosi’s safety when she travels abroad because she is part of the presidential estate.

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

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

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

The Chinese Embassy in the United States opposed his planned trip, which was scheduled for April before Pelosi tested positive for Covid-19, urging members of Congress to tell the speaker not to. TO DO.

“I would say there was a full press from the Chinese Embassy to discourage a trip to Taiwan,” Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen, 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 do. This was my message back.

Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the United States, replied that his office is in “regular contact” with members of Congress, including Larsen.

“On the Taiwan issue, we have expressed 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 jeopardized by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan.”

“We hope that serious consequences can be avoided,” he added. “It is in the common interests of China and the United States.”

Many Democrats and Republicans in Congress have said Pelosi has the right to travel to Taiwan.

“It’s President Pelosi’s sole decision whether or not to go to Taiwan, not any other country,” said Illinois Republican Rep. Darin LaHood, Larsen’s Republican counterpart on the group. American-Chinese work. “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 to travel for the speaker, members of Congress, or other U.S. government officials to Taiwan or elsewhere in the world,” he added.

Other members seemed more cautious about the diplomatically sensitive trip.

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

But when asked if a trip to Taiwan now would send the wrong message, Chu replied, “You can see it two ways. The first is that relations are very strained at the moment. But on the other hand, you could say that maybe this is when Taiwan also needs to show its strength and support.

When asked what she thought of it, she replied, “I’ll leave it to whoever is going to make that decision.”

This story was updated with additional details on Monday.

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