Pelosi visit to Taiwan monitored ‘closely’

THE Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday it is “closely monitoring” reports that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan as part of her Asian tour.

Taiwanese media reports say Pelosi is arriving in Taiwan Tuesday night or Wednesday morning after visiting Malaysia.

“The PH is closely monitoring developments in this regard. It is important for the US and China to ensure continuing communication to avoid any miscalculation and further escalation of tensions. We trust that China and the United States will be responsible actors in the region,” DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said.

When asked about speculation posted on social media that Pelosi will fly from Clark Air Base in Pampanga before proceeding to Taiwan, Daza replied: “The DFA has not received any request from the US government or their Embassy in Manila for  Speaker Pelosi to transit and/or visit the Philippines as part of her current swing of visits to the region.”

The Cesar Basa Airbase in Clark is one of the Philippine military facilities where the US can have access to rotate troops and preposition military equipment under the Philippine-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Taiwan is not on the official itinerary of Pelosi’s Asian tour. She started her trip in Singapore Monday and is now in Malaysia.

But reports of her planned trip to Taiwan have triggered dire warnings from Beijing and escalated tension between China and the United States.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “there will be serious consequences if she insists on making the visit.”

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province. It has been blocking every move on Taiwan’s bid to become a separate sovereign state.

“We are fully prepared for any eventuality,” Zhao 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.”

Image credits: AP/J. Scott Applewhite