U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Singapore early Monday to start her Asia tour with questions remaining as to whether Taiwan is included in the lightning trip.
AP reports “a person familiar with the matter” confirmed Pelosi and her diplomatic entourage landed in the city-state before dawn as tension with Beijing continues over exactly where she will be going next and when.
Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are on her list for meetings on day one, said a spokesperson for Singapore’s foreign ministry.
Pelosi is also expected to attend a cocktail reception with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. There is no media access to her visit, which has been kept under tight wraps.
China has been vociferous in its condemnation of any attempt by Pelosi or any other senior American official to visit Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade state.
"Taiwan independence means war," a spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense said at a press briefing Thursday. https://t.co/wsx5OBY1U4
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 31, 2021
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the communists won a civil war on the mainland. Both sides say they are one country but disagree over which government is entitled to national leadership.
They have no official relations but are linked by billions of dollars of trade and investment.
In a statement over the weekend, Pelosi said she will also visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance.”
Traveling with her are five Democrats, although she had invited House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX), who declined to go, as Breitbart News reported.
The last time a U.S. official of her status visited Taiwan was in 1997, and the official was then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA).
Gingrich has urged Pelosi to go despite the Biden administration’s opposition, calling it “timidity, covered by insecurity and an eagerness to appease people who aren’t Americans.”
In Taiwan, there have been mixed views about the prospect of Pelosi visiting, but figures from both the ruling party and the main opposition have said the island should not cave to Chinese pressure.
“If Pelosi were to cancel or postpone the trip, it would be a victory for the Chinese government and for Xi as it would show that the pressure it has exerted has achieved some desired effects,” Hung Chin-fu, from Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University, told AFP.
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