July 31 (BP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday confirmed that she is leading a delegation of lawmakers to Asian countries but her plans do not mention Taiwan.
Recent reports that Pelosi, the second-in-line to the president, was planning to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China has angered Chinese President Xi Jinping who warned President Joe Biden that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”
Pelosi said in a statement Sunday that her trip to the Indo-Pacific region will include visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to hold “high-level meetings” to discuss how the countries “can further advance our shared interests and values” including security, trade, the climate crisis and human rights.
“Under the strong leadership of President Biden, America is firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific is crucial to prosperity in our nation and around the globe,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said Sunday that the delegation made a fuel stop in Hawaii where members were briefed by the leadership of the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific command visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the USS Arizona.
“It is my privilege as Speaker to lead this distinguished group of Members, which includes Chairs of Committees and Subcommittees of jurisdiction and champions of a strong U.S.-Asia Pacific partnership,” Pelosi said.
“We look forward to productive meetings that will continue to inform Congress’s work to advance our values and interests and strengthen our partnerships in the region.”
The members of the delegation include Rep. Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mark Takano, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Reps. Suzan Delbene, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Andy Kim will also join the delegation.
The California Democrat had planned to make a stop in Taipei in April during a scheduled Asia tour, but the trip was canceled after she tested positive for COVID-19.
Joanne Ou, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Washington Post she had “no further information to share with the media at this moment.”
Washington’s concerns over Beijing’s plans for the democratic island of 23 million have grown in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China has amplified military provocations against Taiwan in the past several months, with frequent incursions into the island’s Air Defense Identification Zone.