Pelosi praises Taiwan’s support during visit that infuriated China


  • Pelosi tells President Tsai: ‘We will not abandon Taiwan’
  • China ramps up military activities around Taiwan
  • Taiwan military raises alert level
  • Blinken discussed Pelosi’s visit with China’s Wang Yi last month
  • China summons US ambassador to Beijing

TAIPEI, Aug. 3 (Reuters) – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan on Wednesday after promising solidarity and praising democracy, leaving a trail of Chinese anger over her brief visit to the self-governed island that Beijing claims as its own island.

China expressed its outrage over the US’s highest visit to the island in 25 years with a burst of military activity in surrounding waters, summoning the US ambassador to Beijing and halting several agricultural imports from Taiwan.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, some of China’s planned military exercises would take place within Taiwan’s 12 nautical miles of sea and air area.

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Pelosi arrived with a congressional delegation on her unannounced but closely monitored visit late Tuesday, defying China’s repeated warnings, in what she said demonstrates unshakable American commitment to Taiwan’s democracy.

“Our delegation has come to Taiwan to make it unequivocally clear that we will not abandon Taiwan,” Pelosi told Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who is suspected by Beijing of seeking formal independence – a red line for China.

“Now, more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, and that is the message we bring here today,” she said during her approximately 7 p.m. visit.

Pelosi, a long-time China critic, especially on human rights, met a former Tiananmen activist, a Hong Kong bookseller detained by China, and a Taiwanese activist recently released by China.

Outrage on the mainland over the 82-year-old Democrat’s resistance to Beijing was evident all over Chinese social media, with one blogger yelling, “this old devil, she really dares to come!” read more

The last US house speaker to go to Taiwan was Newt Gingrich, in 1997. But Pelosi’s visit comes amid deteriorating Sino-US relations, and over the past quarter-century, China has emerged as a far more powerful economic, military and geopolitical power.

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.

In retaliation, Chinese customs announced a suspension of imports of citrus fruits, chilled white-striped scabbard tail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan, while the Commerce Ministry banned the export of natural sands to Taiwan.

While there was little sign of protest against US targets or consumer goods, there was a significant police presence outside the US consulate in Shanghai and what seemed to be more security than usual outside the embassy in Beijing.

MILITARY EXERCISES

Shortly after Pelosi’s arrival, the Chinese military announced joint air and sea exercises near Taiwan and test launches of conventional missiles in the sea east of the island, with Chinese state news agency Xinhua conducting live fire drills and other exercises from Thursday to Sunday. around Taiwan.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Pelosi’s visit seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, “seriously impacts the political foundation of China-US relations and seriously infringes on sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.”

Before Pelosi’s arrival, Chinese warplanes buzzed along the line dividing the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese military said it was on high alert and would launch “targeted military operations” in response to Pelosi’s visit.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said after Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan that the United States “will not be intimidated” by China’s threats or bellicose rhetoric and that there is no reason her visit should create a crisis or conflict.

Kirby said China could engage in “economic coercion” against Taiwan, adding that the impact on US-China relations in the coming days and weeks will depend on Beijing’s actions.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the potential of Pelosi’s visit with his colleague Wang Yi at a G20 meeting in Bali last month, saying such a trip would be entirely Pelosi’s decision and independent of the US government, a senior senior official said. US official Wednesday. read more

‘CHINA’S AMBITION’

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. 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 Taiwanese military increased its alert level. The 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 in surrounding waters.

“The so-called drilling areas fall within the busiest international channels in the Indo-Pacific region,” a senior Taiwanese official familiar with his security planning told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We see China’s ambition: to make the Taiwan Strait non-international waters and to make the entire area west of the first island chain in the western Pacific Ocean its sphere of influence,” the person said.

China’s foreign ministry said it has not seen its military exercises around Taiwan that have caused problems with freedom of navigation.

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Reporting by Yimou Lee and Sarah Wu; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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