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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to depart for Asia on Friday, beginning a diplomatic trip with the potential of upsetting the Chinese Communist Party.
Pelosi is scheduled to visit several allied Asian countries during her multi-day tour of the continent.
One possible destination with major ramifications is Taiwan — officially known as the Republic of China. The island has been expecting a visit from Pelosi, but recent threats from the People’s Republic of China have drawn global attention to the potential visit.
Pelosi’s office has declined to provide information about the trip. Pelosi is also scheduled to hold her weekly Capitol Hill press conference Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Pelosi planned to visit Taiwan in April, which would have made her the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since 1997, but was forced to cancel the trip after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Pelosi has not officially rescheduled the trip, but rumors say she still intends on going after saying last week it is “important for us to show support for Taiwan.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned President Biden in a phone call Thursday that the U.S. must not “play with fire” on Taiwan.
“Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this,” a Chinese readout of the Biden-Xi call said.
The People’s Republic of China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. The Chinese military has frequently sent planes into the area, testing Taiwan’s air defense zone.
The United States does not have official relations with Taiwan but has been stepping up engagement with the island as China seeks to isolate it from global institutions.
“We do not confirm or deny international travel in advance due to longstanding security protocols,” a Pelosi spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Wednesday morning.
Chinese officials told The Associated Press that if Pelosi goes to Taiwan, the military would increase its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Associated Press reported that the Pentagon was planning for a Pelosi trip, saying that fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide overlapping rings of protection for her flight to Taiwan and any time on the ground there.