Pelosi departed for the Indo-Pacific region on Sunday, reportedly leading a delegation of five Democratic lawmakers focused on “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance” in the region. press release from her office.
The delegation included Democratic Representatives Gregory W. Meeks (New York), Mark Takano (California), Suzan DelBene (Washington), Raja Krishnamoorthi (Illinois) and Andy Kim (New Jersey). According to the press release, the delegation will visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
Several Republican lawmakers were invited to the trip but declined, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named. Rep. Michael McCall (R-Tex.), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Confirmed to NBC News last week Pelosi had invited him on the trip — which, he said, included Taiwan — but had to decline due to personal scheduling conflicts.
Since the Financial Times reported earlier this month that a U.S. delegation would visit Taiwan, Pelosi has not confirmed whether she will go, citing security concerns. A spokesman for Pelosi could not be immediately reached for comment earlier Sunday.
Pelosi, 82, plans to Visit Taiwanbut that trip was delayed after she tested positive for the coronavirus.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Orona said earlier on Sunday that she “has no further information to share with the media at this time, nor has she made any comment on the matter.”
White House tries to block Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan over fears it could anger China and spark a war Taiwan Strait CrisisIf Pelosi does go, she will become the first U.S. House speaker to go to Taiwan since Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in 1997.
Chinese state media seized on Pelosi’s visit announcement while continuing to reiterate its Defense Department’s warning that the People’s Liberation Army would “not sit idly by” if she visits Taiwan.subject is Weibo hot searchChina’s Weibo platform, Sunday afternoon local time.
State media also quoted Chinese Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying on Sunday that Beijing would “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity” on the Taiwan issue. Shen reportedly said the Chinese Air Force has a variety of fighter jets capable of hovering over “the precious islands of our motherland.” According to Reuters.
Pelosi’s itinerary is a bit of a game for some, as her flight most tracked Flights on Flightradar24, a real-time flight tracking web service.
Pelosi and visiting lawmakers stopped in Hawaii on Saturday to refuel as the trip began, her office said. They were briefed by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command military leaders and toured the Pearl Harbor National Memorial and the battleship USS Arizona.
“In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, our delegations will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can further advance our shared interests and values,” Pelosi said in a statement. Conference topics will include trade, security, public health, climate change, human rights and democratic governance, according to the press release.
Pelosi added: “Under the strong leadership of President Biden, the United States is firmly committed to informed strategic engagement in the region and understands that a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific is critical to our national and global prosperity. .”
Russia invades Ukraine That prompted Taiwan to take steps to strengthen its military preparedness for a possible attack from China. For decades, the United States has not made a statement on the issue of Taiwan’s sovereign status, and the White House has repeatedly stated that the United States opposes unilateral changes to the status quo.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed support for Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Republican McCall said he was invited on the trip, tell NBC News Any MP who wants to go to Taiwan should do so because “it shows political deterrence against President Xi”.
On ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Rep. Rich Torres (D-N.Y.) said the decision was one that Pelosi made “and her alone.”
“We have to be careful not to send the message that America is easily bullied by China or intimidated by belligerent rhetoric, because if we allow ourselves to be bullied, it will never stop,” Torres said.
Sammy Westfall contributed to this report.