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Former US House speaker urges Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan

Newt Gingrich says doing so would prove American commitment to Taiwan is bipartisan

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. 

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Wednesday (July 27) called on current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to Taiwan.

Commenting on Pelosi’s tentative trip to Taiwan, Gingrich said, “Nancy Pelosi must go to Taiwan in August,” in an article posted on his website Gingrich 360. He said that doing so would “would be a powerful signal to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping that he should drop any plans to invade or intimidate Taiwan.”

Gingrich said that he knows how vital it is to stand up against the CCP. The former House speaker recounted that he and his team scheduled an extended trip to China in 1997, which included stops in Beijing and Shanghai and meetings with senior CCP officials.

When Taiwan was later added to his itinerary, China was infuriated, he said. The CCP threatened to withdraw his invitation if he followed through on his trip to Taiwan.

In response, Gingrich’s national security advisor, Gardner Peckham, told Beijing, “The Chinese Communist Party does not dictate the travel plans of the American Speaker of the House.”

Gingrich said that after more than 20 years, he is still the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan. He pointed out that Taiwan is now a free country that has “a robust news media, a competitive political system, and a dynamic economy.”

He said the U.S. must be “strong and clear” about its values and policies, adding, “To back down now would convince the Chinese Communist dictatorship that America is growing weak and cowardly.” A visit by Pelosi would demonstrate America’s commitment to “a free, safe Taiwan is truly bipartisan,” Gingrich said.

On Friday (July 29), NBC News cited two sources as saying that Pelosi's congressional delegation will head to Asia later that day, and a stopover in Taiwan was listed as “tentative.” The House speaker is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously said it had not received any notification from Pelosi but that it would announce any developments at an appropriate time.