House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, landed in Singapore early Monday morning to kick off her visit to the Indo-Pacific region. Her office said she plans to visit at least four Asian countries during her trip, but there was no mention of a stop in Taiwan amid threats from China.
Pelosi arrived with her Congressional delegation before dawn. She will visit Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and meet with several Cabinet Ministers, according to a spokesperson for Singapore’s foreign ministry.
The Speaker is also expected to attend a cocktail reception with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.
Her visit to Asia will not include any media access. The delegation includes Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, Mark Takano of California, Suzan DelBene of Washington, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Andy Kim of New Jersey.
In addition to Singapore, Pelosi will visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. The trip will center on “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance” in the Indo-Pacific region, her office said in a press release over the weekend.
“In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, our delegation will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can further advance our shared interests and values, including peace and security, economic growth and trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, human rights and democratic governance,” she said in the release.
Her itinerary makes no mention of Taiwan. Her Asia tour comes after President Joe Biden said last month that U.S. military officials believe a visit to Taiwan is “not a good idea.”
Beijing views Taiwan as part of its own territory and Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Biden in a phone call last week that the U.S. must not “play with fire” regarding China’s involvement with Taiwan.
“Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the U.S. will be clear-eyed about this,” a Chinese readout of the call said.
Chinese officials have said Pelosi visiting Taiwan would violate the One China Policy and would constitute aiding an illegal rebellion. A Chinese state media personality even suggested shooting down the Speaker’s plane if she does visit.
The U.S. does not have official relations with Taiwan, although it has increased engagements with the island and has tried to discourage China from invading. Pelosi would be the highest-ranking elected U.S. official to visit the island since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.
The Chinese military has frequently sent planes into Taiwan’s airspace to test the region’s air defense zone. And on Saturday, China held live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
The White House said Friday that there is no reason for the U.S. and China to “come to blows” if Pelosi did pay a visit to Taiwan and that a stop on the island would not signal a change in U.S. policy.
For more than 40 years, the U.S. has followed a One China Policy, recognizing Beijing as the government of China while still maintaining informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan.
Taiwan and China separated in the late 1940s after the communists won a civil war on the mainland. Both sides agree they are one country but disagree when it comes to which government is entitled to national leadership.