Pelosi leads delegation to Asia on Friday with visit to Taiwan still undecided

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading an official congressional delegation to Asia on Friday, two sources said, though it’s unclear whether the trip will include a stop in Taiwan.

One of the sources who checked the itinerary Thursday afternoon said it listed a visit to Taiwan as “provisional,” although the trip will include visits to Asian allies Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

Bloomberg News first reported that Pelosi’s delegation will leave on Friday, the last day the House of Representatives will be in session before its month-long August recess.

In another development, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said Chinese officials were pressuring him to try to stop Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. He told NBC News that a Chinese embassy official called his office and demanded that he tell the spokesman to cancel the trip.

On Monday, China’s San Francisco-based Consulate General personally delivered a similar message to Larsen during a long-planned meeting in his Seattle district.

“He also raised it and made that request,” Larsen, co-chair of the bipartisan US-China working group, said in an interview. “I think it’s a gross miscalculation on the part of the Chinese to try to pressure any member of Congress to go anywhere, let alone this trip, if it happens.”

Pelosi has invited senior lawmakers to join her on the trip, including Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks, DN.Y., and Veterans Affairs Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., who led a delegation of lawmakers last year to Taiwan led.

Takano declined to comment on the trip when approached by NBC News Thursday afternoon. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., told NBC they were also invited by Pelosi but could not make the trip.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill also declined to comment. The Speaker’s Office has a policy of not discussing international travel by lawmakers in advance, citing security concerns.

Earlier reports that Pelosi might visit Taiwan drew international headlines and stern warnings from Beijing that it would mount a “violent” response if it set foot on the democratic island of 24 million, which China claims to be under its control considered.

Some of the threats were aimed at Pelosi himself. “If the US can’t stop them, let China stop and punish them,” said Hu Xjin, former editor of the Chinese state newspaper Global Times. tweeted. “The PLA Air Force will certainly make their visit a disgrace to themselves and to the United States.”

One of the sources who spoke to NBC said Pelosi has been holding meetings at her office throughout the week about the Asia trip and the Taiwan controversy. The source said discussions about a possible visit are extremely sensitive given the possibility of military escalation.

“The Chinese could always miscalculate; Cowboys could miscalculate,” the source said. “And you have our people who will do what they are trained to do to ensure safety.”

President Joe Biden, speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, had raised concerns that Pelosi might travel to Taiwan. He said over the weekend US military officials had told him that visiting Taiwan was “not a good idea at the moment.”

Tensions over Taiwan were among the issues Biden and Xi discussed over the phone.

In their reading of the more than two-hour call, the Chinese warned with harsh rhetoric against any US support for Taiwan’s independence.

“Those who play with fire will perish,” the Chinese said in a statement. “It is to be hoped that the US will have clear eyes on this.”

However, lawmakers from both parties rallied behind Pelosi, urging her to go on the trip and emphasize US support for the self-governing island. Pelosi leads delegation to Asia on Friday with visit to Taiwan still undecided

Fry Electronics Team

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