Since 1902

Nancy Pelosi meets Singapore leaders at start of tour

By Awuor Omino - Aug 1st 2022
Singapore, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shake hands at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. [AP] 

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held talks with officials in Singapore Monday at the start of her Asian tour, as questions swirled over a possible stop in Taiwan that has fuelled tension with Beijing.

Pelosi met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Halimah Yacob and other Cabinet members, the Foreign Ministry said.

Lee welcomed a US commitment to strong engagement with the region, and the two sides discussed ways to deepen US economic engagement through initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the ministry said in a statement.

Lee and Pelosi also discussed the war in Ukraine, tensions surrounding Taiwan and mainland China, and climate change, it said. Lee "highlighted the importance of stable U.S.-China relations for regional peace and security," it added, in an apparent allusion to reports that Pelosi may visit Taiwan.

In a statement, Pelosi said she will visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, security and "democratic governance."

She didn't confirm news reports that she might visit Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing as its own territory. Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against meddling in Beijing's dealings with the island in a phone call last week with US President Joe Biden.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated the earlier warnings Monday, saying "there will be serious consequences if she insists on making the visit."

He did not spell out any specific consequences. "We are fully prepared for any eventuality," he said. "The People's Liberation Army will never sit by idly. China will take strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Pelosi was to attend a cocktail reception later Monday with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. There is no media access to her visit, which has been kept under tight wraps.

She is scheduled to be in Malaysia today. A Parliament official, who was not authorised to speak to the media and declined to be identified by name, said Pelosi will call on Malaysian lower house speaker Azhar Azizan Harun. No further details were immediately available.

On Thursday, Pelosi is to meet with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo in Seoul for talks on security in the Indo-Pacific region, economic cooperation and the climate crisis, Kim's office said in a statement.

It declined to provide further details about her itinerary, including when she is arriving in South Korea and how long she'll stay.

Pelosi's schedule for tomorrow remains unclear and there were no details on when she will head to Japan.

Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to make the island's decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step US leaders say they don't support.

Pelosi, head of one of three branches of the US government, would be the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.

The Biden administration has tried to assure Beijing there was no reason to "come to blows" and that if such a visit occurred, it would signal no change in U.S. policy.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the communists won a civil war on the mainland. Both sides say they are one country but disagree over which government is entitled to national leadership.

Share this story
Kenyans react to Magoha's new half-term directive
Some have termed the move as ‘disoriented’ while others, the majority were happy for the school fees relief.
Basketball: Kenya face Australia, England in 3x3 quarterfinals today from 7pm
Kenya’s men and women 3x3 basketball teams progressed to the quarterfinals of the 2022 Commonwealth Games
.
RECOMMENDED NEWS