August 10, 2022
Nancy Pelosi vows US support for Taiwan as officials warn of military blockade of China

Nancy Pelosi promised an “ironclad” US commitment to Taiwan during a historic visit to the country on Wednesday that angered China and warned that Beijing would announce a military maneuver in retaliation, a blockade of the island. The amount will be

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives’ comments during a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen prompted Taiwanese people to expect strong support from Washington, but are set to further escalate tensions with China.

“The United States has always promised to stand by Taiwan, and this visit is a reminder of that,” Pelosi said at the presidential office in Taipei on Wednesday. “Today, our delegation came to Taiwan to make it very clear that we are not going to leave Taiwan.”

Pelosi’s visit is part of a wider tour of Asia that comes at a time of growing friction between Beijing and Washington and represents an examination of how far China can go to stop foreign expressions of support for Taipei. ready for. Pelosi left Taiwan for South Korea on Wednesday and is scheduled to end her tour in Japan on Saturday.

Pelosi is the most senior US official to visit Taiwan in a quarter century, over which China claims sovereignty. Beijing has called his visit a violation of the US “one China” policy, under which Washington recognizes Beijing as China’s sole government and accepts but does not accept its claim on Taiwan.

As Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday night, the People’s Liberation Army announced plans for extensive joint air and naval exercises and long-range live fire shooting exercises in six large areas around Taiwan, the country’s territorial waters and Kaohsiung and Kaohsiung. Extends over the airspace near Keelung. , its largest and third largest port. Following Pelosi’s departure, the PLA plans to hold drills from Thursday to Sunday.

An editorial in China’s PLA Daily newspaper said the visit sent a “wrong message” to Taiwan’s “separatists” and that “any retaliatory measures taken by China are appropriate, appropriate and necessary”.

Map of Taiwan showing China's military live fire drills in March 1996 and August 2022

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry warned that the exercise “violates Taiwan’s territorial and adjacent waters and airspace and endangers international shipping and flight routes”.

General Yu Chien-chang, a senior official in the ministry’s legal department, said the exercise “is akin to an air and sea blockade of Taiwan”. “They overlap with our territorial waters and airspace and seriously infringe on our sovereignty.”

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven issued a joint statement on Wednesday criticizing the planned PLA exercise and calling on China not to try to forcefully change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

“We are concerned by the recent and announced threat actions by the People’s Republic of China, in particular live-fire exercises and economic coercion, that risk unnecessary escalation,” the G7 countries and the European Union said.

“There is no justification for using the tour as an excuse for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Straits.”

On Wednesday night, Taiwan’s defense ministry said 22 Chinese fighter jets had crossed the midline in the Taiwan Strait. For a long period, both sides respected the informal dividing line – which the US had drawn decades ago to reduce the risk of conflict – but over the past two years Beijing has repeatedly crossed it in moments of tension .

The number of PLA fighter aircraft crossings on Wednesday was significantly higher than on previous occasions, such as during a visit by a US cabinet official two years ago. The aircraft approached Taiwan from the northwest, a trajectory seen as more dangerous as fighters in that direction could reach the capital Taipei within minutes.,

In his remarks in the presidential office, Pelosi was referring to the Taiwan Relations Act, which requires Washington to help defend Taiwan even after the US granted Beijing diplomatic recognition in 1979.

The Taiwan Relations Act does not include an explicit US commitment to military intervention against a Chinese attack. Washington has long maintained a stance of “strategic ambiguity” as to whether it will do so. But some argue that US President Joe Biden has brushed off this stance with remarks that the US will come to Taiwan’s aid in such a scenario.

“We are supporters of the status quo, we don’t want anything to happen to Taiwan by force,” Pelosi said. Pelosi said China “didn’t make much fuss” when other members of Congress visited Taiwan.

“I hope it’s really clear that China stands in the way of Taiwan attending and going to some of the meetings, but they understand that they will not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan,” Pelosi said.

Experts said China was particularly angry because Pelosi is constitutionally second in the presidential succession, belongs to the same party as President Joe Biden, and has concerns over human rights and democracy from Tibet and Xinjiang to Hong Kong. He has repeatedly blamed China for his stand.

Taipei said it is studying whether air and sea routes need to be adjusted due to PLA exercises to ensure safety. There has been no announcement of flight or cargo cancellations.

Tsai praised Pelosi’s visit “in such challenging circumstances as a demonstration of unwavering support for Taiwan” and said it has increased public confidence in the strength of the country’s democracy.

Before meeting with Tsai on Wednesday morning, Pelosi held talks with Taiwanese lawmakers, including Tsai Chi-chang, the deputy speaker of the legislature. Pelosi said she wants to promote inter-parliamentary cooperation and work with Taiwan to help implement the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which US officials say is the best way to counter China. designed for.

“Now more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is important,” Pelosi said in the presidential office. “Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy. America’s determination to maintain democracy in Taiwan stands on iron.

Additional reporting by Christian Davies in Seoul

Video: Will there be a war between China and America over Taiwan?

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