Biden: US military opposes Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan


President Biden has said the U.S. military does not support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California)’s visit to Taiwan this summer.

Leaving Air Force One Wednesday night, Biden was asked about the possibility of a Pelosi trip, which was not confirmed by the State Department or her office.

Biden said “the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” but he noted he was unsure “of his status.”

China’s Foreign Ministry went wild on Tuesday after media reported that Pelosi, as part of a wider Asia tour in August, was planning to visit the democratic island claimed by Beijing.

China says it will take ‘strong action’ if Pelosi visits Taiwan

At her weekly press conference Thursday, Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency, said she never discusses her travel plans because it is a national security issue.

“You never even hear me say if I’m going to London because it’s a matter of security,” she told reporters. Earlier this week, his office said it would not confirm or deny international travel “in advance due to long-standing security protocols”.

The Financial Times first reported news of Pelosi’s trip, saying she would visit Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Pressed by a reporter about Biden’s remarks, Pelosi said, “I think what the president was saying was maybe the military was afraid our plane would be shot down or something by the Chinese. I do not know exactly. I have not seen it. I didn’t hear it. You tell me, and I heard it anecdotally,” she said.

Pelosi had planned to lead a congressional delegation to Taiwan in April, but delayed his trip after contracting the coronavirus. A visit this summer would make her one of the most prominent U.S. politicians to visit Taiwan in recent years and the first House Speaker to go there since Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) slapped her. made in 1997.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week the trip was unannounced and remained “hypothetical.”

Biden also told reporters he planned to speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping “within the next 10 days.” He was reluctant to raise the issue of tariffs and trade with the leader of the world’s second-largest economy, amid rising inflation in the United States.

Sino-US relations remain strained – and Taiwan is a sensitive issue.

“If the United States insists on moving forward, China should take firm and vigorous measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao said on Tuesday. Lijian. Such a trip would cause “serious harm”, he added, and “would have a serious impact on the political foundations of China-US relations”.

Pelosi, who has been critical of China’s stance on Taiwan, met virtually in January with Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai Ching-te when he was in the United States. He thanked Pelosi for standing up for human rights and called her a “true friend” of Taiwan.

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Beijing claims Taiwan as its own and has pledged to achieve what it calls “reunification”, threatening, if necessary, to use force to seize control of the self-governing island. For decades, the United States has walked a fine line, taking no position on Taiwan’s sovereignty status but repeatedly saying it opposes any unilateral change to the status quo.

During his first trip to Asia as president in May, Biden signaled a more confrontational approach to China and issued a stern warning against any potential attack on Taiwan.

Asked at the time if the United States would militarily defend Taiwan if attacked by Beijing, Biden replied, “Yes, that’s the commitment we made.” His comment represented a break from the usual US policy of strategic ambiguity on the subject and was quickly pushed back by aides and criticized by Beijing at the time.

Taiwan has lived under military threat from Beijing since communist forces defeated nationalists in the Chinese Civil War in 1949, prompting nationalists to flee to Taiwan and set up a rival government.

Christian Shepherd and Missy Khamvongsa contributed to this report.

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