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UPDATE: Pelosi lands in Taiwan

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Update (11amET):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed in Taiwa

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making the highest-level trip in 25 years by a U.S. government official to Taiwan, a self-governing island that China’s Communist Party claims as a part of its territory.

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According to a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan during her trip to Asia. However, the Biden administration, and China, have warned her not to go.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have caused the White House concern over how Pelosi’s visit might invoke a reaction from China. Currently the delegation’s itinerary publicly includes stops in South Korea and Japan, but not Taiwan.

CNN reports that during a regular foreign ministry briefing Monday, China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as a part of its territory and reiterated that its military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened.

“We would like to tell the US once again that China is standing by, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, when asked about the fallout from Pelosi leading a congressional delegation to Taipei.

“As for what measures, if she dares to go, then let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the administration’s line that it is Pelosi’s decision whether she visits, adding, “we do not know what Speaker Pelosi intends to do.”

The Taiwanese official stated Pelosi is expected to be in Taiwan overnight, although it is unclear when she will land. The U.S. official says the Defense Department is securing a safety plan for the Speaker, as well as monitoring Chinese “movements” in the region.

“Congress is an independent, coequal branch of government,” Blinken said at the United Nations on Monday afternoon. “The decision is entirely the Speaker’s…And so if the speaker does decide to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that would be entirely on Beijing,” Blinken said. “We are looking for them, in the event she decides to visit, to act responsibly and not to engage in in any escalation going forward.”

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Analysis: Biden unlikely to sanction Iran’s oil exports, gas prices ‘critical during an election year’

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Analysts say President Joe Biden is unlikely to “prompt dramatic sanctions action on Iran’s oil exports” due to “worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China” according to Reuters.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, House Republican Representative Steve Scalise, said the administration had made it easier for Iran to sell its oil, generating revenues that were being used to “go fund terrorist activity.”

The Biden administration has maintained for months that among its primary goals is to keep the Gaza conflict between terror group Hamas and Israel from turning into a wider regional war. However, House Republican leaders accused President Joe Biden of failing to enforce existing measures and said they would take up this week a series of bills to sharpen sanctions on Iran.

Kimberly Donovan, a sanctions and anti-money laundering expert at the Atlantic Council, said that oil-related sanctions have not been strictly enforced in the past couple of years.

“I would not expect the administration to tighten enforcement in response to Iran’s missile and drone attacks against Israel over the weekend, mainly for concerns (that) could lead to increases in oil prices,” she said.

“The price of oil and ultimately the prices of gas at the pump become critical during an election year.”
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