Beijing threatened with a “hard response in case the visit takes place and military maneuvers are announced in the Taiwan Strait”
WASHINGTON.- Nancy Pelosi began her diplomatic tour of Asia , but avoided mentioning Taiwan, after the mishap unleashed with Beijing , which triggered threats of a military attack by China and raised the tension to the maximum.
The Democrat, speaker of the House of Representatives, mentioned Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, but said nothing about the territory that China defends as its own.
“ I am leading a congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm America’s unwavering commitment to our allies and friends in the region . In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, we will hold high-level meetings to discuss how to enhance our shared interests and values.”
Pelosi wrote a tweet in which she does not name Taiwan, which is among the stages of the trip.
The island that China claims is part of its territory had been unofficially added between the stages of the tour –information neither confirmed nor denied by Washington–, rumors that have infuriated Beijing, which has threatened, through the media, with a “hard response in case the visit takes place and military maneuvers are announced in the Taiwan Strait”.
Since 1997, no US politician of such high rank has traveled to the democratic island that China claims as part of its territory. Pelosi’s possible trip has not only irritated Beijing, because according to press reports, the White House tried to dissuade the 82-year-old Democrat from avoiding that trip.
Pelosi left today for that region, where she is leading a delegation of five Democratic legislators. The veteran lawmaker planned to visit Taiwan in April, but that trip was postponed after she tested positive for the coronavirus.
Chinese state media quoted Shen Jinke, a Chinese Air Force spokesman, as saying that Beijing will “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity” when it comes to Taiwan. Shen reportedly said that the Air Force has a variety of fighter jets capable of flying over “the precious island of our motherland.”
Pelosi and the visiting lawmakers stopped in Hawaii to refuel at the start of their trip, her office said, and received a briefing from Indo-Pacific Command military leaders.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province destined for reunification and strongly opposes all acts that appear to support Taiwan as an independent sovereign state. In a phone call lasting more than two hours, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Joe Biden about what he sees as China’s “territorial integrity.” “Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Xi said.