Tensions escalate as US House Speaker Pelosi expected to visit Taiwan

China says its military 'won't sit by idly' if 'sovereignty and territorial integrity' threatened.

Tensions escalate as US House Speaker Pelosi expected to visit Taiwan

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan on Tuesday despite warnings from China of consequences, according to Taiwanese media.

In an exclusive report, Taiwan newspaper The Liberty Times said Pelosi will land at the Taipei Songshan Airport around 10.20 p.m. local time (1420GMT).

Pelosi is on an official trip to Asia with stopovers in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea, without any official mention of Taiwan.

“It is understood that Pelosi will stay overnight after arriving in Taiwan. She is expected to leave Taiwan on Wednesday afternoon,” the daily claimed.

According to the report, two five-star hotels have been booked for the stay of the visiting American delegation of lawmakers.

Pelosi, who will be the first US House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, will meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen before engaging with Taiwanese lawmakers, the report said.

While Taiwanese officials are mum on the visit, China, which claims the self-governing island as a part of its territory, has said its military "won't sit by idly" if its "sovereignty and territorial integrity" is being threatened. It has held several military drills near Taiwan since the speculations on the visit.

Last week, China’s President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Joe Biden "not to play with fire" over Taiwan.

Hüseyin Demir