Washington [US], August 2 (ANI): US National Security Council coordinator John Kirby on Monday said that US Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not confirmed her travel plans to Taiwan yet but she has the right to visit Taiwan and that her visit is not ‘uncommon’.
“If she goes it’s not without precedent, it’s not new,” Kirby said adding, “The Speaker has not confirmed any travel plans and it is for the Speaker to do so, and her staff.”
“The Speaker has a right to visit Taiwan…We won’t be commenting or speculating about the stops on her trip,” he added.
According to media reports, the US House Speaker is expected to arrive in Taiwan on August 2 and meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Pelosi is going to visit Taiwan, with scheduled meetings with government officials at the self-governed island that China threatens to forcefully overtake, media reports earlier said citing a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official.
The Taiwanese official added that she is expected to stay in Taiwan overnight. It is unclear when exactly Pelosi will land in Taipei.
Since the reports of the US House Speaker’s visit were released last month, Beijing has been warning of Nancy’s Taiwan visit saying that it will act strongly and take countermeasures if the US side insists on going ahead with the visit.
The Chinese officials have said Pelosi visiting Taiwan would violate the One China Policy and would constitute aiding an illegal rebellion. A Chinese state media outlet said visiting Taiwan is definitely a red line that Pelosi must never cross.
Kirby said that the Biden administration will support Pelosi on a trip to Taiwan.
“We want to make sure that when she travels overseas, she can do so safely and securely and we’re going to make sure of that. There is no reason for the Chinese rhetoric. There is no reason for any actions to be taken. It is not uncommon for congressional leaders to travel to Taiwan,” CNN quoted Kirby as saying.
The US official added that Defense Department officials are working around the clock on monitoring any Chinese movements in the region and securing a plan to keep her safe.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it is Pelosi’s decision whether she visits, adding, “we do not know what Speaker Pelosi intends to do.”
“Congress is an independent, coequal branch of government. The decision is entirely the Speaker’s,” he added.
Blinken said that such a visit has precedent, noting past speakers and members of Congress have visited Taiwan.
“And so if the speaker does decide to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that would be entirely on Beijing,” Blinken said, adding, “We are looking for them, in the event, she decides to visit, to act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”
Nancy Pelosi, who is second in line to the Oval Office after the US vice-president, is also expected to hold a meeting with other high-ranking officials while in Taiwan on Tuesday and is scheduled to leave the island a day later.
“She’s definitely coming,” the people whom Pelosi is planning to meet with in Taiwan earlier informed the Wall Street Journal of her arrival. “The only variable is whether she spends the night in Taipei.”
However, there is no official announcement for Pelosi’s visit, the stop, the first for a US House speaker in 25 years, is not currently on Pelosi’s public itinerary and comes at a time when US-China relations are already at a low point.
Back in April, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan had been postponed after she tested positive for COVID-19. At that time, Beijing had resolutely opposed any official exchange between the United States and Taiwan and stressed that the US should abide by the one-China principle, which is the political foundation for China-US relations.
China stresses that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and same China. It firmly opposes separatist moves toward “Taiwan independence”.
Meanwhile, Pelosi kicked off her Asia tour, the delegation led by her made a courtesy call to President Halimah Yacob, and also met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan on Monday.
The Congressional delegation led by Nancy Pelosi comprises Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks (D-New York), Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Mark Takano (D-California), Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-Washington), Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois), and Congressman Andy Kim (D-New Jersey), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore said in a statement. (ANI)