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U.S. House Speaker Pelosi begins Asia tour; no mention of Taiwan

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Friday, July 29, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi starts a tour of 4 Asian countries on Sunday, her office said, without mentioning Taiwan amid intense speculation she might visit the self-ruled island claimed by China.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a Congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region, including visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan,” her office said in a press release.

The discharge said the visit would come with those countries, but didn’t specify whether Pelosi, who’s number 3 in the road of presidential succession, might make other stops.

“The trip will give attention to mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance within the Indo-Pacific region,” it said.

Gregory Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the many delegation listed.

China views visits by U.S. officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp within the island. Washington doesn’t have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is certain by law to offer the island with the means to defend itself.

President Xi Jinping warned his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden on Thursday that Washington should abide by the one-China principle and “those that play with fire will perish by it.”

Biden told Xi U.S. policy on Taiwan had not modified and that Washington strongly opposes unilateral efforts to vary the established order or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Chinese air force spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted by state media as saying on Sunday that Beijing will “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” referring to Taiwan.

Shen said at a military airshow that the air force has many kinds of fighter jets able to circling “the dear island of our motherland”. He said China’s “air force has the firm will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

A People’s Liberation Army unit said on the Twitter-like social media Weibo on Friday: “Prepare for war!”

Distinguished Chinese commentator Hu Xijin said on Saturday he deleted a tweet warning of military retaliation should U.S. fighter jets escort Pelosi on a Taiwan visit, after Twitter blocked his account.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said on Friday the USA has seen no evidence of looming Chinese military activity against Taiwan.

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