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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sets off on Asia tour, no mention of Taiwan on list

·2 min read

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun her anticipated trip to Asia, with her office naming four destinations but making no mention of Taiwan.

This comes amid more stormy warnings from Beijing amid heightened tensions over her planned visit to the island.

Pelosi, No 3 in the line of US presidential succession, is leading a six-member congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, according to a statement released by her office on Sunday.

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The statement skipped any mention of Taiwan, after days of intense speculation about a likely stop there fuelled tensions, with Beijing calling it a "provocation" and warning Washington against "playing with fire".

"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," the statement quoted Pelosi as saying.

"America is firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific is crucial to prosperity in our nation and around the globe," the 82-year-old Democratic lawmaker said.

Beijing regards Taiwan to be a breakaway province, to be reunited by force if necessary, and warns against any official exchange with the self-governed island.

It earlier said Pelosi's planned trip to Taiwan was a move to support "Taiwan independence", in violation of the US' avowed one-China policy.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.