US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reached Taiwan amid growing threats from China regarding the trip. Her flight landed in Taipei as China closed the east coast airspace around Xiamen. Reports say that Chinese fighter jets have crossed the Taiwan Strait.
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After landing, Nancy Pelosi tweeted: “The visit of our delegation to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy … Our visit is one of many congressional delegations to Taiwan – and It does not in any way contradict the policy of the United States, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US-China Joint Commendations and the Six Assurances.”
Beijing, which considers Taiwan as part of its territory, has promised “serious consequences” for the visit of the highest-ranking US official in more than 25 years.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying, “The US is taking provocative actions that may increase tension in the Taiwan Strait. It should take full responsibility. The US will certainly take responsibility and undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests.” will pay the price for it.” local media.
The US has said it will not be intimidated by the Chinese “saber rattle”. Washington officially has no diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, but is obliged by US law to help defend the island.
The US C-40C plane – said to be Ms Pelosi’s flight to Taiwan, although there was no official confirmation – circled around and reached Taiwan over the Philippine Sea.
Local media reported that Chinese fighter jets had crossed the Taiwan Strait, which was closed to traffic by China. “Chinese Sukhoi-35 fighter jets are crossing the Taiwan Strait,” state TV CGTN reported.
Four US warships, including an aircraft carrier, were stationed in waters east of Taiwan in what the US Navy called a routine deployment.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry has kept silence about the trip. But Ms Pelosi was received by Taiwan’s foreign minister at the airport, where hundreds of people gathered to see her. Taipei’s tallest building was decorated as a welcome.
In live television images, Ms Pelosi was greeted upon arrival by Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
The stir over Ms Pelosi’s visit risks strained relations across the region as governments face the reality of easing tensions between the world’s two largest economies. Both the US and China have sent diplomats to hold talks with Southeast Asian leaders.