By HUIZHONG WU and EILEEN NG
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is believed to have headed to Taiwan on Tuesday, potentially greatly escalating tensions with Beijing, which claims the autonomous island as its territory.
Pelosi is on an Asia tour this week and will be closely watched to see if she defies China’s warnings against visiting an island nation that is a close US ally.
China has promised to retaliate if Pelosi becomes the first U.S. elected official to visit Taiwan in more than 25 years, but has not given details. Speculation centers on threatening military exercises and possible incursions by Chinese planes and ships into areas under Taiwan’s control.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, “Washington’s betrayal on the Taiwan issue is undermining national trust.”
“Some American politicians are playing with fire on the Taiwan issue,” Wang said in a statement. “This is definitely not going to do any good… America’s bullying face reveals once again that it is the world’s greatest disturber of peace.”
The plane carrying Pelosi and her delegation departed Malaysia on Tuesday after a brief stop that included a working lunch with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Ya’aqob. The United Daily News, the Liberty Times and the China Times — Taiwan’s three major national newspapers — said, citing anonymous sources, that she would spend the night in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry declined to comment. Prime Minister Su Tseng Chan did not expressly approve of Pelosi’s visit, but said Tuesday that “foreign guests and friendly lawmakers” are “very welcome.”
Barricades were set up outside the Grand Hyatt hotel in Taipei where Pelosi was supposed to be staying, and security was increased.
China, which sees Taiwan as a rebel state to be annexed by force if necessary, has repeatedly warned of reprisals if Pelosi visits, saying its military “will never sit on the sidelines.” there is
“The United States and Taiwan are colluding to make provocations first, forcing China to act in self-defense,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference.
Hua said China was in constant contact with the United States and made clear “how dangerous it would be if the visit actually took place.” She said any countermeasures taken by China were “legitimate and necessary” in the face of Washington’s “unscrupulous actions.”
An unspecified hacker launched a cyberattack on Taiwan’s presidential office website, rendering it temporarily unavailable on Tuesday night.The website was restored shortly after the attack and was overwhelmed with traffic, the presidential office said. .
“China believes that by launching a multi-domain pressure campaign against Taiwan, the people of Taiwan will be blackmailed. But they are wrong,” said Wang, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party. Tingyu said on Twitter after being attacked.
China’s military threat raises fears of a new crisis in the 100-mile (140-kilometer) wide Taiwan Strait that could destabilize global markets and supply chains.
The White House on Monday condemned Beijing’s rhetoric, saying the US had no interest in deepening tensions with China and would “not bait or intimidate.”
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stressed that the final decision on whether to visit Taiwan rests with Pelosi. He noted that members of Congress have been visiting the island regularly over the years.
Kirby said the Chinese government used the visit as a pretext for military actions, including launching missiles in and around the Taiwan Strait, making sorties into island airspace, and conducting large-scale naval operations. He said he was concerned that he might take provocative retaliatory measures. Practice in the Straits.
“Simply put, Beijing could turn a possible visit in line with longstanding U.S. policy into a crisis of sorts, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. There’s no reason to,” Kirby said.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also urged China to “act responsibly” if Pelosi continues to visit.
“If the president decides to visit and China creates any kind of crisis or tries to escalate tensions, it will be entirely up to Beijing,” he told reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York. “If she decides to visit, we are looking out for them to act responsibly and not get involved in future escalations.”
U.S. officials said the U.S. military would increase the movement of troops and assets in the Indo-Pacific if Pelosi visited Taiwan. The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group were in the Philippine Sea on Monday, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the military operation.
Reagan, the cruiser Antietam, and the destroyer Higgins then left Singapore and headed north to their home port of Japan. The carrier carries an array of aircraft, including F/A-18 fighter jets and helicopters, as well as advanced radar systems and other weapons.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the communists won the civil war on the mainland. The United States maintains unofficial and defense ties with Taiwan while recognizing Beijing as the Chinese government.
Beijing sees official U.S. contact with Taiwan as an encouragement to perpetuate the island’s decades of de facto independence, but U.S. leaders support the move. says it hasn’t. Pelosi, who heads one of his three branches of the US government, will be the highest elected US official to visit Taiwan since then-Chairman Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Pelosi’s aircraft, the U.S. Air Force’s Boeing C-40C, was the most tracked in the world on Tuesday night with 300,000 viewers, according to flight-tracking site Flightradar24.
Pelosi has used her position in the US Congress as an emissary for the US on the world stage. She has long raised human rights issues with China, and she attempted to visit Taiwan’s island democracy earlier this year before she tested positive for COVID-19.
Pelosi kicked off her Asia tour in Singapore on Monday, with a possible visit to Taiwan sparking unrest in the region.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “underscored the importance of stable U.S.-China relations for peace and security in the region” during his meeting with Pelosi, Singapore’s foreign ministry said. This was reiterated in Tokyo by Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who said a stable relationship between the two rival powers was “very important for the international community as well.”
The Philippines called for the US and China to become “responsible actors” in the region. Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Teresita Daza said: “It is important that the United States and China ensure continued communication to avoid any miscalculations or further escalation of tensions.”
China is steadily increasing diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan. In 2016, after President Tsai Ing-wen refused to back Taiwan’s claim that the island and mainland together constitute a single Chinese state, with Beijing’s communist regime as the only legitimate government. cut off all contact with the Taiwanese government.
Pelosi is scheduled to meet with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo in Seoul on Thursday to discuss security, economic cooperation and the climate crisis in the Indo-Pacific region, according to Kim’s office. Pelosi also plans to visit Japan, but it’s unclear when he will.
Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Associated Press journalists Jim Gomez of Manila, Philippines and Mari Yamaguchi of Tokyo contributed to this report.
Pelosi Thinks Headed to Taiwan, Raises Tensions with China – thereporteronline
Source link Pelosi Thinks Headed to Taiwan, Raises Tensions with China – thereporteronline