SMA NEWS – WASHINGTON
A US Air Force plane carrying House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, around 10 pm local time on Tuesday, August 2. Her visit to Taiwan has sparked a full-blown diplomatic row between the US and China.
Pelosi and her delegation disembarked at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei and were greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, and Sandra Oudkirk, the top US representative in Taiwan. Chinese warplanes flew over Taiwan Strait before her arrival.
Ever since news emerged of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China warned the US of “grave consequences” resulting in a full-blown diplomatic row between the US and China. The visit of Pelosi to the self-governed island, which Beijing claims as its own, has raised tensions between the US and China.
After Pelosi landed in Taiwan, China announced that PLA will conduct “important military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills” in six regions surrounding the Taiwan island from Thursday, August 4, to Sunday, August 7, according to Global Times.
For her part, moments after landing in Taipei, Pelosi put out a tweet about “America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy”.
The Chinese foreign ministry was quick to hit out and stepped up its warning. “China will definitely take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the US Speaker’s visit. All the consequences arising therefrom must be borne by the US side and the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces,” a statement by China’s ministry of foreign affairs said.
Pelosi and members of a Congressional Delegation also issued a statement upon their arrival in Taiwan.
“Our visit is part of our broader trip to the Indo-Pacific — including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan — focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance. Our discussions with Taiwan leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. 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,” the statement said.
Continuing further, it said, “Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan – and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, U.S.-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances. The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.”
The Chinese foreign ministry put out a series of tweets, slamming the US. Quoting Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, Xinhua News said, “It is shameful that the United States breaks faith with its promise on the Taiwan question, which will only lead to the bankruptcy of its national credibility.”
A visit to Taiwan by Pelosi, who is second in the line of succession to the US presidency and a long-time critic of China, would come amid worsening ties between Washington and Beijing.