House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to add a stopover in Taiwan to the itinerary of a Congressional trip she is leading to the Indo-Pacific, including an overnight stay in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.
Over the weekend, Pelosi left Washington with a group of five other House members — House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, Deputy -Ways and Means Committee Chair Suzan DelBene, House Intelligence Committee Member Raja Krishnamoorthi and Andy Kim, House Armed Services Committee Member, plans to travel to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and in Japan.
According to Ms Pelosi’s office, the trip is supposed to focus on “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region”. The California Democrat said she and her colleagues look forward to “productive meetings that will continue to inform the work of Congress to advance our values and interests and strengthen our partnerships in the region.”
Although Ms Pelosi’s public comments do not reflect plans to visit Taiwan, CNN and others have reported that a visit to the island is expected to take place at some point in the trip and will include an overnight stay, citing comments from an anonymous “Taiwanese official”. . The Financial Times also reported that Ms. Pelosi’s program will include a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
The visit would be the first by a Speaker of the House since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich landed there in 1997, and would come despite warnings from Biden administration officials as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping that visiting the island would be like Ms Pelosi “playing with fire”. ”.
But a National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters on Monday that any visit by Ms Pelosi would be on her own authority and would not reflect any change in US policy.
“The president has the right to travel to Taiwan, and a House Speaker has traveled to Taiwan without incident before, as have many members of Congress, including this year,” he said. . “Nothing has changed in our ‘one China policy’, which is of course guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three US-PRC joint communiqués [and] the six assurances”.
Mr Kirby added that the United States continued to oppose “unilateral changes to the status quo on either side”.