On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that she is leading a delegation of lawmakers to Asian countries, however her plans do not mention Taiwan. According to reports, Pelosi, second-in-line to the president, was planning to visit there. The island country, though independently ruled, has been claimed by China, and the idea of a formal U.S. visit provoked an angered Chinese President Xi Jinping to warn President Joe Biden by phone last week that-
“those who play with fire will perish by it.”-Chinese President Xi Jinping
Stating the purpose of holding “high-level meetings” to discuss how the countries “can further advance our shared interests and values” including security, trade, the climate crisis and human rights, Pelosi said Sunday that the delegations planned trip to the Indo-Pacific region will include visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
Pelosi’s spokesperson however, stated that any trip to Taiwan was still “tentative”. If she did visit Taiwan, Pelosi would be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit there, since speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997. Pelosi had previously planned to make a stop in Taipei this past April, during her then scheduled Asia tour, but the trip was canceled when she tested positive for COVID-19.
Further, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joanne Ou, told the Washington Post that she had-
“no further information to share with the media at this moment.”- Joanne Ou, Spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Pelosi said, in a statement Sunday-
“Under the strong leadership of President Biden, America is firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific is crucial to prosperity in our nation and around the globe,” adding…
“It is my privilege as Speaker to lead this distinguished group of Members, which includes Chairs of Committees and Subcommittees of jurisdiction and champions of a strong U.S.-Asia Pacific partnership,” …“We look forward to productive meetings that will continue to inform Congress’s work to advance our values and interests and strengthen our partnerships in the region.”-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
The delegation of House Members accompanying Speaker Pelosi include: Rep. Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee together with Representatives, Suzan Delbene, Andy Kim and Raja Krishnamoorthi . Reportedly, the delegation made a fuel stop in Hawaii, where members were briefed by the leadership of the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command, which included a visit to the USS Arizona at the Pearl Harbor Memorial.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China has amplified military provocations against Taiwan these past several months. As China has been making frequent incursions into the island’s Air Defense Identification Zone, Washington’s concerns over Beijing’s plans for the democratic island, of 23 million, have grown.
It remains to be seen if Pelosi does indeed visit there, or if the Biden administration will shrink back from this important US Ally, in light of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s obvious threat. It would seem at least, at face value, that any visit there will not be an openly stated one. This is not the time for America to seem weak – China already has infiltrated America’s interior with it’s technological spying and has purchased land in multiple states, all while Biden ignores the greater threat to America’s security. The fox seemingly is prowling the hen house with little deterrence.
“Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.”- Antisthenes