Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has extended an invite to a small group of her peers in the House of Representatives to travel with her to Taiwan.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Pelosi invited him and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, to travel with her to Taiwan. Pelosi’s trip has attracted controversy, as she would be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country in a quarter-century, and a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that a potential Pelosi visit would “challenge China’s red line,” according to The Hill.
“Rep. McCaul was invited but is unable to attend due to a prior commitment. He also believes the Speaker or any other American official should be able to visit Taiwan if they would like to,” Leslie Shedd, a spokeswoman for Rep. McCaul, told the DCNF.
McCaul’s team added that they could not “confirm if the trip is still happening – only that he was invited a few weeks ago.”
McCaul’s are the first on-the-record comments to confirm that Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was, at some point, scheduled. While the Biden administration has spoken on the matter hypothetically, it has not confirmed the trip, and Pelosi herself has declined to confirm as well, citing “long-standing security protocols” about Congress members’ foreign travel plans, according to NBC News.
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Taiwan is a self-governing island nation just 100 miles off the coast of China, but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers it a part of China and has said that reunification “must be fulfilled,” possibly even militarily, according to the BBC. Rumors of Pelosi’s trip have caused speculation that China may retaliate with force if the speaker goes ahead with her plans.
The United States’ policy on Taiwan has long sought to prevent Taiwan from being absorbed by the CCP without doing anything to antagonize China, according to the State Department.
Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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