Taiwanese officials are still expecting the arrival of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, even after she noticeably left the nation out of her Asia trip itinerary
On Sunday, Pelosi announced that she will visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance,” among other issues.
According to a senior Taiwanese government official, Pelosi is expected to stay in Taiwan overnight without specifying her exact time of arrival in Taipei.
President Joe Biden and other administration officials had earlier warned against her visit due to concerns about China’s potential response.
According to President Biden’s aides, they are expecting Pelosi to proceed with the highly controversial stop. The administration officials noted that he did not directly ask Pelosi to cancel her trip, mostly out of his respect for the independence of Congress.
While it is possible Pelosi could still change her mind about it, they consider it unlikely.
Meanwhile, a U.S. official revealed that officials from the U.S. Defense Department are closely monitoring any Chinese movements in the region and have devised a strategy to ensure her safety.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the People’s Liberation Army “won’t sit idly by” if Pelosi visited Taiwan.
“Her stature as the No. 3 US official means a trip would be highly sensitive,” Zhao was quoted as saying. “As to what measures, let’s wait and see whether she insists on this visit.”
The trip officially began on Monday with a visit to Singapore. There, she met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Halimah Yacob and other cabinet members.
On Tuesday, she is scheduled to be in Malaysia to meet with Malaysian lower house Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun. She is set to arrive in Seoul on Thursday to meet with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo.
No details were made available about Pelosi’s visit to Japan or her schedule for Wednesday.
Meanwhile, several media outlets in Taiwan reported that Pelosi will arrive Tuesday and meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday. According to TVBS, Pelosi’s delegation has booked multiple hotels in downtown Taipei.
Joining Pelosi on this trip includes lawmakers Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Mark Takano, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Suzan DelBene, vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; Raja Krishnamoorthi, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and chair of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; and Andy Kim, a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.