- Pelosi: world faces choice between autocracy and democracy
- Chinese warplanes buzz Taiwan Strait dividing line
- Outraged China plans ‘targeted military operations’
TAIPEI, Aug. 2 (Reuters) – US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday on a trip that she says shows an unwavering American commitment to the island claimed by China itself, but China condemned it. US visit at highest level in 25 years as a threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Pelosi and the rest of her delegation disembarked from a US Air Force transport plane at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei after landing overnight on a flight from Malaysia to begin a visit that will see US-China relations reach new lows. could push. They were greeted by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Sandra Oudkirk, the US highest representative in Taiwan.
Her arrival sparked a furious response from China at a time when international tensions are already mounting over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. The United States warned China not to use the visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.
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“Our congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan is a tribute to America’s unwavering commitment to support Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement shortly after landing. “America’s solidarity with Taiwan’s 23 million people is more important than ever today as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.” read more
Pelosi, second in line to the US presidency, is a longtime critic of China.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen will meet with Pelosi on Wednesday morning and then have lunch together, the presidential office said. Pelosi, who traveled along with six other US lawmakers, became the top US political leader to visit Taiwan since 1997. read more
China’s foreign ministry said it has made a strong protest to the United States, saying Pelosi’s visit seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, “seriously impacts the political foundation of relations between China and the US and seriously infringes on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Chinese warplanes buzzed along the line dividing the Taiwan Strait before her arrival. The Chinese military has been placed on high alert and will launch “targeted military operations” in response to Pelosi’s visit, the defense ministry said.
The Chinese military announced joint air and sea exercises near Taiwan on Tuesday evening and testing launches of conventional missiles in the sea east of Taiwan, with Chinese state news agency Xinhua describing live fire drills and other exercises around Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday. read more
Pelosi is on an Asia tour with announced visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Her visit to Taiwan was unannounced, but it was long anticipated.
In a Washington Post op-ed released after the landing, Pelosi explained her visit, praising Taiwan’s commitment to democratic government, while criticizing China for dramatically increasing tensions with Taiwan in recent years. .
“We cannot stand by as the CCP threatens Taiwan and democracy itself,” Pelosi said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
Pelosi also cited China’s “ruthless crackdown” on political dissent in Hong Kong and its treatment of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities, whom the United States considers genocide.
PELOSIA MOTORCYCLE CADE
As Pelosi’s motorcade approached her hotel, escorted by police cars with flashing red and blue lights, dozens of supporters cheered and rushed toward the black vehicles with arms outstretched and phone cameras on. The motorcade drove straight into the hotel parking lot.
On Tuesday evening, Taiwan’s tallest building, Taipei 101, lit up with messages such as: “Welcome to Taiwan”, “Speaker Pelosi” and “Taiwan (heart) USA”.
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 bellicose rhetoric. Kirby said the visit is not a violation of America’s sovereignty or long-standing “one China policy.”
“There is no reason why this visit is an incitement to crisis or conflict,” Kirby said.
Pelosi, 82, is a close ally of US President Joe Biden, both members of the Democratic Party, and has helped drive his legislative agenda through Congress.
Four sources said Pelosi would also meet on Wednesday with activists who are candid about China’s human rights record.
China sees visits by US officials to Taiwan as an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the island. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying that only the Taiwanese people can decide the island’s future.
The United States does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is required by US law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
Wall Street’s major indices fell in choppy trading on rising US-China tensions. read more
Several Chinese warplanes flew close to the median line 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 dividing line since Monday and remained there, the source said.
The Chinese plane performed tactical moves by briefly “touching” the median line and circling back to the other side of the strait while Taiwanese planes were on standby nearby, the source said. Aircraft from neither side normally cross the center line.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday 21 Chinese aircraft entered its air defense identification zone and that China attempted to threaten key ports and cities with exercises around the island. Taiwan’s armed forces have “strengthened” their alert level, it added.
Taylor Fravel, an expert on China’s military at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said China’s planned exercises appear larger than during a crisis in the Taiwan Strait in 1995 and 1996.
“Taiwan will face military exercises and missile tests from the north, south, east and west. This is unprecedented,” Fravel said.
Four US warships, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, were deployed in waters east of Taiwan on what the US Navy called routine deployment.
Russia, locked in confrontation with the West over the invasion of Ukraine, condemned Pelosi’s visit.
“The US is a provocateur of the state,” said Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Russia affirms the principle of ‘one China’ and opposes the independence of the island in any form.”
Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned Biden in a phone call on Thursday that Washington must adhere to the one-China principle. Biden told Xi that US policy towards Taiwan has not changed and Washington strongly opposes unilateral attempts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
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Reporting by Yimou Lee and Sarah Wu, and Fabian Hamacher in Taipei, Yew Lun Tian and Ryan Woo in Beijing, Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Written by Tony Munroe and Michael Martina; Editing by Will Dunham, Angus MacSwan and Mark Heinrich
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