Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday underscored the importance of stable US-China relations during talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as the region remains on edge over the top official’s expected visit to Taipei. Pelosi began her closely-watched Asia tour in Singapore, one of Washington’s key regional strategic partners. The 82-year-old, head of one of three branches of the US government, led a six-member congressional delegation that held talks with key Singapore officials including Lee, President Halimah Yacob and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. “During their meeting, PM Lee and the Congressional delegation affirmed the deep and multifaceted partnership between Singapore and the US, underpinned by robust cooperation across the defence, security and economic spheres,” Singapore ’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday afternoon. “PM welcomed the commitment expressed by the Congressional delegation for strong US engagement of the region, and both sides discussed ways to deepen the US’ economic engagement of the region through initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework,” the statement said. “PM Lee and the Congressional delegation also exchanged views on key international and regional developments, including the war in Ukraine, cross-strait relations, and climate change. PM Lee highlighted the importance of stable US-China relations for regional peace and security.” The congressional delegation also met Lawrence Wong, the deputy prime minister and Lee’s designated successor, as well as senior ministers Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean. What US-China row over Pelosi and Taiwan means for Southeast Asia Pelosi’s Singapore meetings come amid a continued frenzy in Asia over her itinerary – especially whether it included a stop in Taiwan . Multiple reports have said she would visit the island, after a trip planned in April was postponed after she tested positive for Covid-19 . So far, Pelosi’s office has confirmed that she will visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Taiwanese media on Monday reported that Pelosi would arrive in Taipei on Tuesday night, citing unnamed sources. There was no immediate comment from the office of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and the self-ruled island’s foreign ministry. Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunited by force if necessary, has called Pelosi’s possible visit a “provocation”. While China’s foreign ministry did not directly mention the prospect of Pelosi’s Taiwan visit in its statement following President Xi Jinping’s call with Biden last week, it said the Chinese leader had warned his American counterpart against “playing with fire” on the Taiwan question. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday issued fresh warnings to Pelosi, saying that China’s military would not “sit idly by” if she visited Taiwan. Given the tenor of both increased scepticism of China in the US and intensified nationalism in China … reconciliation is unlikely for the foreseeable future Chong Ja Ian, National University of Singapore Chong Ja Ian, an associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore, noted that Pelosi’s visit to the city state – and the topics that were discussed – was not out of the ordinary. Singapore, given its strong ties with the US, was “naturally” one of the locations that Pelosi would consider a stop if Washington wished to reinvigorate its ties with East Asia, he said. Asked if Singapore’s Lee would have discussed with Pelosi about the possible consequences of visiting Taiwan, Chong said Lee had on multiple occasions called for the US and China to maintain stability and return to a more cooperative relationship. “Many people will wish that, but given the tenor of both increased scepticism of China in the US and intensified nationalism in China – which brings with it strident views on the region and disputes as well as distrust of the United States – reconciliation is unlikely for the foreseeable future,” he said. “Moreover, even if Pelosi is willing and able to convey Lee’s message to other members of the US Congress and the executive branch, they are independent actors within the US system with minds of their own.” China’s Ukraine stance raises awkward questions on territorial integrity, Singapore PM says The Singapore government has not made any comment on Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan. In an editorial on Monday, the establishment-friendly national newspaper The Straits Times said that “while it remains unclear whether she will add Taiwan to her schedule, ultimately, Mrs Pelosi probably is best advised not to do so”. “Certainly, this is not the moment for such a visit; it would be a needless provocation. Mr Biden himself has said that even the Pentagon did not want Mrs Pelosi to visit Taiwan,” the editorial said.