Nancy Pelosi's Plans During Taiwan Visit Revealed: Local Media

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will land in Taipei late on Tuesday for a historic visit to Taiwan at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China, according to Taiwanese media reports.

Pelosi and her office have both declined to comment on her travel plans, citing security protocols, and a press release about her congressional delegation's (CODEL) ongoing trip across Asia didn't mention a stopover on the democratic island claimed by Beijing. Reached by Newsweek, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said it had no information to share and would not offer additional comment.

However, with arrangements apparently having been made for her arrival in the Taiwanese capital, local news outlets are already reporting on Pelosi's itinerary as the California Democrat is set to become the first serving speaker of the House of Representatives to set foot on the island in a quarter-century, since Republican Newt Gingrich visited in the same capacity in 1997.

The speaker's plane will land at Songshan Airport in Taipei at 10:20 p.m. local time, according to the Liberty Times. Members of her CODEL will likely spend the night at the Taipei Marriott Hotel and Grand Hyatt Taipei, the paper said Tuesday morning.

Taiwan Media Reveals Nancy Pelosi's Itinerary
An aircraft carrying former U.S. health secretary Alex Azar lands at Songshan Airport in Taipei on August 9, 2020. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will land at the same airport when she arrives in Taiwan for a historic visit on August 2, 2022, according to Taiwanese media reports. CHEN CHUN-YAO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Taiwan's Apple Daily reported plans for an increased police presence at the airport and around the hotels, it said.

Pelosi, who landed in Malaysia on Tuesday morning following a visit to Singapore, will take part in at least two public events during her group's stopover in Taipei, local reports said. On Wednesday morning, she will meet President Tsai Ing-wen and also greet Speaker You Si-kun—her opposite number in the Taiwanese legislature—as part of a meeting with bipartisan lawmakers.

The offices of Taiwan's president and legislative speaker haven't publicly confirmed the itinerary, but one legislator told Apple Daily he had received an invitation to meet Pelosi's CODEL. The newspaper said Tsai is planning to host Pelosi at a state banquet before the House speaker departs for the final legs of her journey—Seoul and Tokyo—on Wednesday afternoon.

China, which opposes any interactions between the U.S. government and self-ruled Taiwan, has warned that Pelosi's visit must not happen. The Chinese military, which marked its 95th anniversary on August 1, last week promised a response to the move, which Beijing argues is provocative.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, repeated the military's message during a regular press conference in the Chinese capital on Monday: "We want to once again make it clear to the U.S. side that the Chinese side is fully prepared for any eventuality and that the People's Liberation Army of China will never sit idly by."

Amid reports that both the White House and Defense Department advised Pelosi and her CODEL against the high-profile visit, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday that Beijing was likely to escalate its military pressure in the Taiwan Strait in a way that could "increase the risk of miscalculation."

At the same time, Kirby also sought to downplay the significance of the visit, which he suggested the White House had no authority to prevent.

Taiwan Media Reveals Nancy Pelosi's Itinerary
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 29, 2022. Pelosi is due to arrive in Taipei late on August 2, according to Taiwanese media reports. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

"Congress is an independent branch of government," he said.

"There is no drama to talk to. It is not without precedent for a speaker of the House to go to Taiwan, if she goes—and I'm not confirming that she is," Kirby said. "And it's certainly not without precedent for members of Congress to travel to Taiwan; it has been done this year, and I'm certain that it will be done in the future."

At the top of the press briefing, Kirby argued there was no reason for Beijing to use Pelosi's visit "as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait."