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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Malaysia Tuesday for the second leg of her Asian tour that is being overshadowed by an expected stop in Taiwan.
Pelosi and her delegation touched down at an air force base in Kuala Lumpur. She met with lower house Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun in Parliament and participated in a luncheon with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
While there have been no official announcements, local media in Taiwan reported that Pelosi will arrive in Taipei on Tuesday night. She would become the highest-ranking elected U.S. official to visit in more than 25 years.
Word of Pelosi’s trip did not sit well with China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory and any trip by a high-ranking American official as confirmation of U.S. support for the Island’s independence.
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China said its military will “never sit idly by” if Pelosi pushes ahead with the visit. China’s threats of retaliation have driven concerns of a new crisis in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two sides, that could roil global markets and supply chains.
The White House said it will not encage with China’s “saber rattling.”
White House national security spokesman John Kirby downplayed the significance of the threats.
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“We shouldn’t be, as a country, we shouldn’t be intimidated by that rhetoric or those potential actions. This is an important trip for the speaker to be on and we’re going to do whatever we can to support her,” Kirby told reporters.
Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang celebrated the potential arrival of Pelosi 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.
Fox News’ Michael Lee and The Associated Press contributed to this report.