Pelosi lands in Singapore on Asia tour that might include a stop in Taiwan

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Singapore early Monday, kicking off her Asian tour as questions swirled over a possible stop in Taiwan that has fueled tension with Beijing.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed that Pelosi and her delegation landed in the city-state before dawn. The person spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to release details to the media.

Pelosi was to call on Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and to meet with a number of Cabinet ministers, said a spokesperson for Singapore’s foreign ministry.

She is also expected to attend a cocktail reception with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. There is no media access to her visit, which has been kept under tight wraps.

In a statement over the weekend, Pelosi said she would also visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance.”


She didn’t confirm news reports that she might visit Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing as its own territory. Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against meddling in Beijing’s dealings with the island in a phone call last week with President Biden.

Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to the self-governing island to make its decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step U.S. leaders say they don’t support. Pelosi, head of one of three branches of the U.S. government, would be the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.

The Biden administration has tried to assure Beijing that there was no reason to “come to blows” and that, if such a visit occurred, it would signal no change in U.S. policy.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the Communists won a civil war on the mainland. Both sides say they together form one country but disagree over which government is entitled to national leadership. They have no official relations but are linked by billions of dollars in trade and investment.

The U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but maintains informal relations with the island. Washington is obligated by federal law to see that Taiwan has the means to defend itself.

Washington’s “one-China policy” says it takes no position on the status of the two sides but wants their dispute resolved peacefully. Beijing promotes an alternative “one-China principle” that says they are one country and the Communist Party is its leader.

A visit to Taiwan would be a career capstone for Pelosi, who increasingly uses her position in Congress to act as a U.S. emissary on the global stage. She has long challenged China on human rights and wanted to visit Taiwan earlier this year.

Pelosi is leading a delegation of several congressional representatives, including Californian Mark Takano (D-Riverside), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.