Latest: Pelosi arrives in Malaysia as tensions rise over possible Taiwan visit

THE CITY OF KUALA LUMPUR, MYANMAR Second phase of Asian visit overshadowed by probable arrival in Taiwan, which would aggravate tensions with Beijing that claims the self-ruled island as its own sovereignty. Pelosi arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday.

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Pelosi and her delegation arrived safely at an air force facility despite the high level of security surrounding their arrival. Before leaving for a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, she called on Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun of the lower house.

Pelosi is expected to arrive in Taipei on Tuesday night, according to Taiwanese media, but no formal announcements have been made. She will be the highest-ranking elected U.S. politician to visit Taiwan in more than 25 years. Allegations that she might fly to Taipei after her trip to Malaysia were reported by Taiwan’s three main national dailies, the United Daily News, the Liberty Times, and The China Times.

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China has warned that if Pelosi goes ahead with her trip, its military will “never sit quietly by” since it views Taiwan as a renegade province that should be annexed by force if necessary. A fresh crisis in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two countries, has raised fears that China’s threats of reprisal might disrupt global markets and supply lines.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the U.S. has no interest in escalating tensions with China and “will not take the bait or engage in saber rattling.”

The White House’s National Security Council spokesperson, John Kirby, stressed that it was ultimately up to Pelosi to decide whether or not to visit the self-ruled island. There have been several visits by lawmakers to Taiwan over the years, he said.

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Beijing might use this visit as a reason to take provocative retaliation measures, such as firing missiles in or around Taiwan, or flying sorties into the island’s airspace and conducting large-scale naval maneuvers in the strait.

There is no reason for Beijing to transform a planned visit consistent with long-standing U.S. policy into a crisis or use it as a pretext to expand aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait,” Kirby said.

In the event that Pelosi decides to go forward with the trip, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken advised China to “act responsibly.”

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In New York, he told reporters that Beijing would be solely responsible if China attempted to create a crisis or exacerbate tensions as a result of the speaker’s visit. “We expect them, if she visits, to act appropriately and avoid any escalation in the future,” he said.

After the Communists on the mainland won a civil war, Taiwan and China divided in 1949. Relations between Taiwan and the United States are still informal, notwithstanding U.S. recognition of Beijing as the government of China and its support for Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Beijing interprets official U.S. engagement with Taiwan as a call to formalize Taiwan’s de facto independence, a step that U.S. officials insist they oppose. It would be the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan since Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997, when Pelosi was in charge of the House of Representatives.

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There are worries in the region after Pelosi’s supposed travel to Taiwan, which she began in Singapore on Monday.

While meeting with Pelosi, Singapore’s foreign ministry noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “highlighted the importance of stable U.S.-China relations for regional peace and security.” Stable relations between the two hostile countries are “very vital for the international community as well,” as Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi stated in Tokyo.

To be “a responsible actor in the area,” the Philippines called on the United States and China. U.S. and Chinese officials should keep in close touch to avoid any misunderstandings or further escalation of tensions, said Foreign Affairs spokesman Teresita Daza on Wednesday.

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Diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan has increased gradually in recent years due to China’s actions. When Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, refused to recognize Beijing’s assertion that the island and mainland form one Chinese nation, China severed ties with the island’s administration, cutting off all communication in 2016.

According to Kim’s office, Pelosi and Kim Jin Pyo will meet in Seoul on Thursday to discuss security in the Indo-Pacific area, economic cooperation, and the climate problem. Although the date of Pelosi’s trip to Japan is still a mystery, we expect her to be there soon.

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