BEIJING, May 22 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of China's sharpest critics, will lead a U.S. delegation on a visit to Beijing next week, officials said.
Pelosi's office didn't respond to a request for a comment, but an official from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirmed that Pelosi will visit China May 24-31, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Diplomats in Beijing said Pelosi and the congressional delegation would also travel to Shanghai.
The visit will have an environmental and energy focus, with Pelosi scheduled to speak at an environmental energy forum, the Journal said. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, is also scheduled to speak.
Pelosi has been a vocal critic of China. In 1991, she unfurled a banner on Tiananmen Square, where pro-democracy protests in 1989 led to a government crackdown in which hundreds of people died. She opposed normalized trade relations with China throughout the 1990s. Last year, the California Democrat received several condemnations from Beijing for suggesting that President George W. Bush boycott the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics and for visiting the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, in India.
"It's not great timing, but it's positive that she comes to China," Yan Xuetong, head of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, told the Journal. "Her image of China is still of the time of the Tiananmen events; this might help her change her view."