The United States House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is currently on her Asia tour where she is set to visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. Although it was believed that Pelosi could visit Taiwan, the statement sent out by the veteran lawmaker’s office regarding her Asia tour did not make any mention of the same.

Pelosi, who father was the Mayor of Baltimore, has been a staunch critic of China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The 82-year-old politician had also asked former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore to ask Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji to acknowledge the protests as pro-democracy.

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The veteran politician was also quite vocal in her criticism of China regarding the latter’s stance on Tibet. In a speech at Dharamsala, India, Pelosi had called China a human-rights abuser while talking to a gathering of Tibetans.

In August 2017, High Court of Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal handed prison sentences to three students for taking part in the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. This saw Pelosi up-in-arms against China once again, with her stating that the ruling should “shock the conscience of the world”.

Pelosi, in January, called out China’s opposition to free-market economics. She tweeted:

Although the U.S. government has not clearly said that it wants Taiwan to be an independent nation and has instead opted for a peaceful resolution, its Chinese counterpart continues to claim Taiwan as a part of the country, with the Communist Party as its only leader. 

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Chinese stance

Before the release of Pelosi’s itinerary, officials associated with the Chinese government had spoken up against what was presumed to be the first visit to Taiwan by a United States House of Representatives Speaker in 25 years. Consul General of China in Belfast, Zhang Meifang, had warned in a tweet that military action could also have been taken: