In Taiwan, Pelosi Claims She Brings 'Peace to Region' While Pledging 'Unwavering Support' to Island
03:51 GMT 03.08.2022 (Updated: 07:52 GMT 06.08.2022)
After days of hectic speculation about her plans, Pelosi, who is on a tour of Asia, touched down in Taiwan aboard a military plane. Beijing's response has been prompt: the Chinese military stated it would "launch a series of targeted military actions" and was on "high alert."
Following a visit that infuriated Beijing and ignited a diplomatic conflagration, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that her entourage had traveled to Taiwan to promote "peace for the region."
"We come in friendship to Taiwan, we come in peace to the region," she declared during a meeting with the island nation's parliament deputy speaker Tsai Chi-chang.
Nancy Pelosi speaks in Taiwan:— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 3, 2022
"We come in friendship to Taiwan, peace to the region" pic.twitter.com/xzPVbIxAyS
Pelosi also highlighted the House's bipartisan support for Taiwan despite China's warnings of "consequences" and use of military action in response to her visit. She brought up the violent events that occurred in 1989 on Tiananmen Square in Beijing as she recalled her 1991 visit to China, and expressed worry about China's trade policies and technology transfers.
She also commended Taiwan's reaction to COVID-19 in terms of governance and economics and stated she wanted Taiwan's achievements to be known around the world.
The speaker also expressed her desire to expand inter-parliamentary ties between the US and Taiwan.
"We want to expand inter-parliamentary cooperation and dialogue. And we are doing this at a time when our president has launched the Asia-Pacific Initiative, which we support," Pelosi noted.
During the speech, Pelosi also introduced the members of the American delegation.
3 August 2022, 01:53 GMT
Meeting the Island's Chief Executive
Later in the day, she met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who said at the meeting that the island's authorities will not back down in the face of military threats.
"We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defence for democracy at the same time," said Tsai Ing-wen.
Tsai also gave Pelosi a medal in recognition of her service to the island and expressed her respect for how long she had stood up for freedom, democracy, and human rights.
In turn, Pelosi claimed the purpose of her trip was to "make it unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan."
“American solidarity to Taiwan is crucial and that is the message we are bringing today,” she said.
© Screenshot/GuardianScreenshot captures moment US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen on August 3, 2022.
Screenshot captures moment US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen on August 3, 2022.
In a statement released on Tuesday, she indicated her trip "honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy."
"Our congressional delegation's visit to Taiwan honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy," the speaker said in a statement earlier on Tuesday. "America's solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy."
She arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday, defying a series of dire warnings and threats from China, which has deemed the visit as a serious provocation given that it claims Taiwan as its territory.
The severity of the situation stems from the fact that Pelosi is the most prominent elected US official to visit Taiwan in the previous 25 years, as she is second in line to succeed the coveted presidential seat.
The visit by Pelosi "seriously breached the one-China principle" and "maliciously violated China’s sovereignty," according to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who made the statement on Wednesday morning. Wang claimed it demonstrated once more that the US was the "biggest destroyer of peace and regional stability in the Taiwan Strait."
In response to the visit, late on Tuesday, the Chinese foreign ministry summoned US Ambassador Nicholas Burns and threatened that Washington "shall pay the price."
Pelosi's visit to Taiwan was reportedly opposed by the Biden administration, but White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby asserted she was free to travel wherever she wished. However, the US has stated its policy towards Taiwan has not changed.
Beijing considers the island its province and always opposes any contact between Taipei representatives and incumbent officials, especially high-ranking ones, or the military from countries with which China has diplomatic relations.