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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan
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By Staff, Agencies

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is due to visit Taiwan in August, new media reports suggested.

The trip would make her one of the highest-ranking officials from the US to visit the self-ruled island democracy in decades.

Pelosi was originally scheduled to visit Asia in early April, but her trip was delayed when she contracted COVID-19. While the focus of that trip was on Japan, it reportedly included a stop in Taiwan.

The Financial Times, citing six sources, reported on Tuesday that the trip is now scheduled for next month.

The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy, and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, local media reported that independent legislator Freddy Lim invited Pelosi to visit again during a summit on Tibet in June.

If her trip goes ahead, Pelosi will be the first sitting speaker of the House to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich travelled to the territory in 1997 to meet then-President Lee Teng-hui.

The timing of Gingrich’s trip was noteworthy as it came a year after Taiwan’s first democratic elections were held in 1996, a considerable milestone for the island.

Pelosi’s expected visit will take place at a significant low point for US-China and China-Taiwan relations. China is also preparing for its all-important Party Congress in October and the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army on August 1.

News of Pelosi’s trip is likely to anger China, which also objected to her previous plans to visit in April.

China’s Communist Party in Beijing regards Taiwan as its sovereign territory, although it has never directly ruled the island.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in April that a visit by Pelosi would constitute “gross interference in China’s internal affairs” during a conversation with Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron.