Pelosi Arrives in Taiwan Despite Chinese Threat of ‘Serious Consequences’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday despite China warning of “resolute and strong measures” if the Democrat visited the island.

The visit has inflamed tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. China views trips by foreign government officials to Taiwan as an acknowledgment of the island’s sovereignty and has warned the trip will have an “egregious political impact.”

Pelosi issued a statement shortly after her arrival saying the visit “honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” according to the Associated Press.

“Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan — and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy,” she added.

Pelosi’s visit makes her the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Washington’s betrayal “on the Taiwan issue is bankrupting its national credibility.”

“Some American politicians are playing with fire on the issue of Taiwan,” Wang said in a statement, according to the AP. “This will definitely not have a good outcome … the exposure of America’s bullying face again shows it as the world’s biggest saboteur of peace.”

However, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday that the U.S. does not “support Taiwan independence.”

“Nothing has changed about our ‘One China Policy,’” Kirby said. “We have repeatedly said that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We have said that we do not support Taiwan independence, and we have said that we expect cross-straight differences to be resolved by peaceful means.”

Kirby said Monday that the House speaker can make her own decisions about the trip saying, “Congress is an independent branch of government.”

President Biden on Thursday affirmed that the U.S. stands firmly behind its “One China Policy.”

Twenty-six Senate Republicans, including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), signed a statement in support of Pelosi’s trip on Tuesday.

“We support Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan,” the lawmakers said. “For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have travelled to Taiwan. This travel is consistent with the United States’ One China policy to which we are committed. We are also committed now, more than ever, to all elements of the Taiwan Relations Act.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese military posted a video Monday showing its forces conducting exercises with warships and fighter planes and launching missiles into the sky.

“China appears to be positioning itself to potentially take further steps in the coming days and, perhaps, over longer time horizons,” Kirby said, suggesting that potential steps could include military provocations, “operations that break historical norms,” air or naval activities, and military exercises.

The Chinese foreign minister issued a threat on Monday ahead of Pelosi’s reported trip, saying the Chinese military will “never sit idly by” if Pelosi flies to Taiwan.

Last week, a reporter for the Chinese Community Party-controlled Global Times said Pelosi’s plane should be shot down if she were to be accompanied by U.S. fighter jets to Taiwan.

“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction,” the reporter, Hu Xijin, said on Twitter.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is part of larger trip to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. The stop in Taiwan was not officially announced in advance.

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