International News

US spokesman Pelosi confirms Asia-Pacific tour, is silent on Taiwan

#spokesman #Pelosi #confirms #AsiaPacific #tour #silent #Taiwan

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a congressional delegation to Asia-Pacific confirmed Sunday, with stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

The statement made no mention of whether the six-member delegation would visit Taiwan, a flashpoint in talks between China and the United States ahead of the trip.

“The trip will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement.

The all-Democrat delegation includes House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks and members of the House Standing Intelligence Committee and the Armed Forces Committee of Representatives.

“Our delegation will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can further advance our common interests and values, including peace and security, economic growth and trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, human rights and democratic governance,” he said Pelosi in the statement.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Pelosi’s delegation will visit the city-state on August 1-2, with meetings planned with President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

– Tensions around Taiwan –

For weeks, tensions between the US and China had escalated over reports that Pelosi could visit the self-governing island of Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory that must be reunited by force if necessary.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had a tense phone call.

The two leaders agreed to schedule their first in-person summit, but disagreements over Taiwan clouded the talk, with Xi indirectly warning the United States against “playing with fire” over the island.

The United States has maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” about whether it would intervene militarily if China invaded Taiwan, and while recognizing Beijing’s claim to the island, it also supports the democratic Taiwanese government.

In the latest warning from Beijing, Chinese Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said on Sunday that defending Chinese territory is the military’s “sacred mission”.

“The air force has firm determination, full confidence and sufficient capability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Shen said, according to the state-run People’s Daily.

Over the past two years, China has increased flights of fighter jets, bombers and other aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone to signal displeasure and rouse Taipei’s own military.

“The air force’s multi-type warplanes fly around the motherland’s Taiwan, practicing to improve its ability to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Shen said.

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