Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday on a trip she claimed was meant to show American solidarity with the island that China claims as its own. This was Pelosi’s first visit to Taiwan in 25 years, and it has the potential to further deteriorate ties between Washington and Beijing.
Pelosi and her group were met by Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, and Sandra Oudkirk, the highest US official in Taiwan, as they descended from a US Air Force cargo plane at Songshan Airport in the heart of Taipei.
Pelosi released a statement immediately after arrival that said, “Our congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan celebrates America’s unshakable commitment to supporting Taiwan’s dynamic democracy.” The United States’ support for Taiwan’s 23 million citizens is more crucial than ever as the globe struggles to decide between despotism and democracy.
The foreign ministry said Pelosi’s visit “has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The ministry said it had lodged a strong protest with the United States. China immediately denounced Pelosi’s visit.
Prior to her arrival on Tuesday, Chinese warplanes flew over the line dividing the Taiwan Strait, and according to Chinese official media, PLAN drills would take place close to Taiwan from Thursday through Sunday.
Pelosi, who is second in line for the US presidency and has long been a critic of Beijing, was in Asia on an official trip that included included stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. Although her stay in Taiwan was unexpected, it was eagerly anticipated.
Pelosi spoke to China’s “brutal assault” on political opposition in Hong Kong as well as how it treats Muslim Uighurs and other minorities, which the US has labeled as genocide.
Wang Yi, the foreign minister of China, warned US legislators earlier on Tuesday that they would “come to no good end” if they “play with fire” on the Taiwan issue.
After Pelosi arrived, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said that the United States “is not going to be scared” by China’s threats or bellicose language. According to Kirby, the visit does not infringe on any sovereign rights or America’s long-standing “one-China policy.”
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