Military advises Nancy Pelosi against planned trip to Taiwan

EA possible trip to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi has sparked discussions in Washington. President Joe Biden confirmed on Wednesday that there are Defense Department concerns about a visit to the island by the “speaker” of the House of Representatives, which Beijing had warned against. “The military doesn’t think it’s a good idea at this time,” Biden said, adding that he’s not up to date beyond that. Neither the State Department nor Pelosi’s office confirmed the travel plans: According to security protocol, it’s generally that You neither confirm nor deny foreign trips in advance, the Democrat’s office said.

Majid Sattar

Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.

The Financial Times previously reported that Pelosi, number three in the state, was considering traveling to Asia with a congressional delegation in August, visiting Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia in addition to Taiwan. The trip was originally supposed to take place in April, but had to be canceled due to a corona infection. Pelosi’s visit would be the highest-ranking visit from the United States to Taipei in 25 years. In 1997, the then “speaker” of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, visited Taiwan. Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of Chinese territory, threatened “firm action” if Pelosi visited. Such a trip would seriously violate Beijing’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

The possible trip also seems to thwart Biden’s plans to relax trade relations with Beijing in view of high inflation and the looming recession in America. Biden said he expects to speak to President Xi Jinping in the next 10 days. It would be the first phone call in four months. The White House declined to comment on whether Biden will seek to lower trade restrictions between the world’s two largest economies. Although the Biden administration sees China as the greatest challenge of the 21st century, the president’s economic advisers have recently been discussing lifting some of the tariffs imposed under Donald Trump. Skeptics within the government fear the effect will not reach consumers. It is also pointed out that Biden is making himself vulnerable ahead of the congressional elections in the fall, as Republicans could accuse him of bowing to Xi.

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