Pelosi arrives in Malaysia ahead of expected trip to Taiwan
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday for the second leg of her Asia tour amidst intense speculation that she may visit Taiwan.
Pelosi was expected to arrive in Taipei later on Tuesday, people briefed on the matter said, as the United States said it would not be intimidated by Chinese "sabre rattling" over the visit.
In Malaysia, Pelosi met members of Malaysia's parliament in Kuala Lumpur.
Footage filmed by local broadcaster Astro Awani showed Pelosi entering a room with the Malaysian parliament speaker, before she participated in a meeting accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia.
She is expected to meet Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, state news agency Bernama reported.
One person familiar with Pelosi's itinerary said in Taiwan, most of her planned meetings, including that with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, were scheduled for Wednesday.
Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring the island under its control.
Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims and says only its people can decide the island's future.
Pelosi began her Asia tour in Singapore on Monday. Her office said she will also go to South Korea and Japan, but made no mention of a Taiwan visit.
China views the visit by U.S. officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the island.
Washington does not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is bound by U.S. law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
The Kremlin also warned the United States on Tuesday that an expected visit to Taiwan by Pelosi would put it on a collision course with China and provoke tensions in the region.
"We cannot say for sure right now whether she will or will not get there, but everything about this tour and the possible visit to Taiwan is purely provocative," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
China has repeatedly warned Pelosi against going to Taiwan. Beijing says a Pelosi visit would contravene the one-China principle that Washington has vowed to abide by.
Meanwhile, Taipei residents were divided over a possible visit by Pelosi.
While university student Yang Hsing-ruei believed the visit would help the Taiwan-U.S. relationship improve, his classmate, Chang Yun-fan, thought it won't bring "any real benefit".
"In the end, we are just a chess piece in someone else’s game. It is very hard for Taiwan to walk its own path," said 22-year-old Chang.