Tension rises between China and the United States with Pelosi's tour

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Begins Asia Tour, Not To Mention Taiwan

ivan rodriguez gelfenstein

R. Gelfenstein - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will embark on a tour of four Asian countries, her office said, without mentioning Taiwan among speculations she might visit the autonomous island claimed by China.

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region, which includes visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan," her office said in a statement.

"The trip will focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

China believes the visits by U.S. officials to Taiwan send an encouraging signal to the island's independence camp. Washington has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is legally obliged to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

Renowned Chinese commentator Hu Xijin said Saturday he deleted a tweet warning of military retaliation if U.S. fighter jets escorted Pelosi to Taiwan after Twitter blocked her account.

A visit by Pelosi would be a dramatic, if not unprecedented, demonstration of American support for Taiwan. Republican Newt Gingrich was the last Speaker of the House to visit Taiwan in 1997.

On Thursday, President Xi Jinping warned his US counterpart, Joe Biden, that Washington must uphold the one-China principle and that "those who play with fire will die for it."

Biden told Xi that U.S. policy toward Taiwan had not changed and that Washington strongly opposed unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. See more information

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said after the phone call between Xi and Biden on Friday that Taiwan would continue to deepen its close security partnership with the United States.

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."

Shen said at a military air show that the Air Force has many types of fighter jets capable of visiting "the precious island of our homeland," referring to Taiwan.

He said "China's air force has a strong will, full confidence and sufficient capacity to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

A comment from a people's liberation army unit on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social network, posted friday: "Prepare for war!" - received 1.87 million thumbs up.

On Saturday, the Chinese military conducted live-fire drills in waters off Fujian province, more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Taiwan, according to local officials.

Pelosi's Asian tour comes at a politically sensitive time for Chinese and U.S. leaders.

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