Pelosi Travels With Delegation to Asia Amid Chinese Warnings Not to Visit Taiwan https://www.wsj.com/articles/pelosi-travels-with-delegation-to-asia-amid-chinese-warnings-not-to-visit-taiwan-11659293173
By Michael R. Gordon
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of Democratic lawmakers to Asia on Sunday in the face of stern warnings from Beijing that the group should avoid a stop in Taiwan.
A statement issued Sunday by Mrs. Pelosi’s office said the group’s travels would include visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan but didn’t address whether Taiwan was still on the itinerary.
Mrs. Pelosi (D., Calif.) has long been critical of China on human rights issues and a visit to Taiwan would make her the most senior politician to visit the island in 25 years.
The possibility of a Taiwan stop has created a dilemma for the Biden administration. Should Mrs. Pelosi’s delegation forgo a stop in Taiwan, Republican lawmakers are poised to criticize the Democrats for backing down, but if she does go ahead with the visit, the already sharp tensions between China and the Biden administration are expected to escalate further.
President Biden has said that the U.S. military doesn’t think her visit is a good idea but has refrained from saying publicly if she should make the trip.
The other members of the delegation include Gregory Meeks of New York, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mark Takano of California, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Other members are Suzan DelBene of Washington, the vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, a member of the House Intelligence Committee; and Andy Kim of New Jersey, who is a member of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs Committees.
During a stop to refuel in Hawaii, the delegation met with the leadership of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Mrs. Pelosi said in a statement.
“Today, our Congressional delegation travels to the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm America’s strong and unshakable commitment to our allies and friends in the region,” Mrs. Pelosi added.
The Pentagon said last week that it was moving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its strike group toward the South China Sea.
On Saturday, China said it was conducting live-fire military drills near Pingtan Island off Fujian province, which is opposite Taiwan.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping told Mr. Biden in a call Thursday that “those that play with fire will perish by it,” a phrase that American officials took as a warning about a potential Taiwan visit by Mrs. Pelosi.
Newt Gingrich traveled to Taiwan in 1997 when he was House speaker, but tensions between China and the U.S. have increased markedly since then.