World · August 2, 2022

Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan, defying China’s warnings and threats

US House of Representatives spokesperson Nancy Pelosi has arrived in Taiwan for a trip she says is intended to express US solidarity with the island claimed by China, the first such visit in 25 years.
Ms. Pelosi and her delegation disembarked from a US Air Force transportation plane at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei and were greeted by Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Sandra Oudkirk, the highest representative of the United States in Taiwan.
“Our congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement shortly after landing.
“America’s solidarity with the 23 million Taiwanese is more important today than ever, as the world must choose between autocracy and democracy.”
China immediately condemned Pelosi’s visit, with the foreign ministry saying it seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, “has a serious impact on the political foundations of China-US relations and grossly violates sovereignty and the territorial integrity of China “.
The ministry said it filed a strong protest with the United States. Chinese warplanes buzzed on the line dividing the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday before its arrival, and Chinese state media said the People’s Liberation Army will hold exercises near Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday.
Pelosi, second in the line of succession to the US presidency and a longtime critic of China, has been on an Asia tour that includes announced visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

His stop in Taiwan had not been announced but had been widely anticipated. In a Washington Post opinion piece published shortly after her disembarkation, Ms Pelosi outlined the reasons for her visit, praising Taiwan’s commitment to a democratic government and criticizing China for dramatically increasing tensions with Taiwan in recent years.

“We cannot stand by while the CCP continues to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself,” Pelosi said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party. Pelosi also cited China’s “brutal crackdown” on political dissent in Hong Kong, as well as its treatment of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities, which the US government deemed genocide.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that US politicians who “play with fire” on the Taiwan issue “will not have a good ending.”
White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said after Pelosi’s arrival that the United States “will not be intimidated” by China’s threats or belligerent rhetoric.
Kirby said the visit is not a violation of either any issue of sovereignty or a longstanding “single China policy”.
“There is no reason for this visit to become a stimulating event for a crisis or conflict,” added Kirby.
The Taiwan Presidential Office said President Tsai Ing-wen will meet Ms. Pelosi on Wednesday morning and have lunch with her.

Four sources said Wednesday afternoon he also met with a group of activists who are outspoken on the human rights situation in China.

Pelosi, 82, is a close ally of US President Joe Biden, both being members of the Democratic Party, and has been a key figure in driving his legislative agenda through the US Congress.
On Tuesday night, Taiwan’s tallest building, Taipei 101, lit up with messages including: “Welcome to Taiwan”, “Speaker Pelosi”, “Taiwan (heart) USA”.
With tensions already high, several Chinese warplanes flew near the midline dividing the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday morning before departing later in the day, a source told Reuters.
Several Chinese warships have also sailed near the unofficial demarcation line since Monday and remained there, the source said. The Chinese aircraft repeatedly conducted tactical moves of briefly “touching” the midline and returning across the strait while Taiwanese aircraft were on standby nearby, the person said.
Neither party’s planes normally cross the midline. Four U.S. warships, including the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, were stationed in waters east of Taiwan in what the U.S. Navy called routine deployments.
The carrier had transited the South China Sea and was now in the Philippine Sea, east of Taiwan and the Philippines and south of Japan, a US naval officer told Reuters.
China views visits by US officials to Taiwan as a sign of encouragement to the pro-independence camp on the democratic, self-governing island.
China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and has never given up on the use of force to bring the island under its control.
Taiwan rejects China’s claims of sovereignty and claims that only its people can decide the island’s future.

The United States has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is bound by US law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.