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Pelosi confirms trip to Asia but doesn’t mention Taiwan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed Sunday that she will be visiting Asia but did not mention whether she will make a stop in Taiwan.

“Today, our Congressional delegation travels to the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm America’s strong and unshakeable commitment to our allies and friends in the region,” the California Democrat said in a statement. “In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, our delegation will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can further advance our shared interests and values, including peace and security, economic growth and trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, human rights and democratic governance.”

Her press release left open the possibility that she still might visit Taiwan, something that has been the subject of much political debate in recent days in both the United States and Asia. China regards Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, a view not shared on that island nation located just off China’s coast.

The possible visit has also created political complications for the White House. “The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” President Joe Biden said of the trip July 20.

Pelosi herself has long been a critic of China for its record on human rights. In 1991, she showed up in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square with a banner that paid tribute to dissidents who were murdered in pro-democracy protests there two years earlier. Chinese authorities briefly detained her, as well as then-Reps. Ben Jones (D-Ga.) and John Miller (R-Wash.), over their protest.

“Tiananmen Square is a magnet for us. There is no way we could come here without being drawn to the square,” Pelosi said at the time.

China has considered Taiwan part of its territory since Mao Zedong established a communist state on the mainland in 1949 and nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan. The U.S. did not recognize the mainland’s government until the 1970s; since then, American governments have had awkward, indirect relationships with Taiwan.

In her statement, Pelosi said she was traveling with Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.).

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