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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday for the second leg of her Asian tour that was overshadowed by an expected stop in Taiwan.
Pelosi and her delegation landed at an air base in Kuala Lumpur. She met the Speaker of Parliament, Azhar Azizan Haroun, in Parliament, and participated in a luncheon with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaqoub.
Pelosi issued a statement about her visit on Tuesday, writing: “Today, our Congressional delegation was honored to receive Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and Minister of Foreign Affairs Seif El Din. We engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on advancing our shared goals for the Indo-Pacific.”
Pelosi said her discussions with Malaysian leaders “included security challenges, economic opportunities, and governance priorities.”
Chinese military publishes video defending Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan
“In each of our meetings, we appreciated Malaysia’s vote in the United Nations on Russian aggression and its leadership in ASEAN to disavow Burma for its murderous crackdown on dissent,” Pelosi said. “Our talks on governance focused on integrity in government, addressing the climate crisis and combating the coronavirus. We agreed to continue cooperation on our common security interests, economic priorities, trade, human trafficking, and climate issues.”
While there were no official announcements, local media in Taiwan reported that Pelosi will be arriving in Taipei on Tuesday night. She will become the highest-ranking US elected official she has visited in more than 25 years.
Word of Pelosi’s trip did not go well with China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory and any trip by a high-ranking US official underscores US support for the island’s independence.
China said its military “would not stand idly by” if Pelosi went ahead with the visit. China’s threats of retaliation have led to fears of a new crisis in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two sides, that could disrupt global markets and supply chains.
The White House said it would not be hit by China’s “rattle of swords”.
The White House’s national security spokesman, John Kirby, played down the threats.
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“We, as a country, should not be intimidated by this rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important journey for the spokeswoman and we will do everything we can to support her,” Kirby told reporters.
Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang celebrated Pelosi’s possible arrival without confirming the House Speaker’s trip.
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“We always warmly welcome visits to our country by distinguished foreign guests,” he said.
Michael Lee and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.