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Asia Minute: House speaker’s potential trip to Taiwan sparks angry reaction in Beijing

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
FILE - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks at her weekly press conference, July 14, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. China will take “resolute and strong measures” should Pelosi proceed with reported plans for a visit to Taiwan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

The latest controversy between the United States and China involves reports of a planned trip of a leading U.S. lawmaker. The travel would include Hawaiʻi — but that’s not the controversial part.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi may be planning an Asia-Pacific trip that would include Taiwan.

The Financial Times quotes six people “familiar with the situation” as saying Pelosi will lead a delegation to Taiwan next month — although those plans have not been finalized.

Pelosi canceled a previously scheduled trip in April after she came down with COVID-19.

But the timing is more delicate now — because of a series of events coming in Beijing.

Aug. 1 will mark the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army — and at some point later this year the Chinese Communist Party is due to hold its 20th National Congress.

That event is likely to include the approval of an unprecedented third 5-year term for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

All of that increases the sensitivity of what would be the first visit in 25 years of a speaker of the House to Taiwan.

On Tuesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman said a visit by Pelosi would result in “resolute and forceful measures.”

The Financial Times reports that Pelosi and a delegation of lawmakers will also travel to Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia — as well as stopping by U.S. Indo-Pacific command here in Hawaiʻi.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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