Beijing had been warning of Pelosi’s visit for weeks, issuing threats that raised fears of a new crisis in the region between the world’s two largest economies. As soon as it touched down on Tuesday, Chinese officials unleashed a flurry of angry remarks and announced plans for military exercises to begin immediately.
On Wednesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman called Pelosi’s visit a “political farce.”
“It’s Pelosi who is great, but it’s the bilateral relationship and regional peace and stability that will suffer,” Hua Chunying said.
Some of the additional military drills planned later this week will take place within Taiwan’s sea and air areas, a move the island democracy denounced as a serious violation tantamount to land and sea blockades.
Both Pelosi and Tsai said they are determined to maintain the status quo, under which the United States recognizes Beijing as China’s sole legitimate government but maintains unofficial ties with Taiwan.
“We always want Taiwan to have freedom with security, and we don’t shy away from that,” Pelosi said.
Tsai thanked the US delegation, which includes five other members of the House of Representatives, for their visit “in such challenging circumstances” and called the Chinese military exercises “unnecessary”.
China sees Pelosi’s visit as highly provocative given her status as a senior official. While U.S. lawmakers and other current and former government officials regularly visit Taiwan, Pelosi is the first speaker of the House of Representatives to visit the island since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Pelosi said that while China has blocked Taiwan from attending international organizations and meetings, “they will not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan.” Cheers erupted outside Taipei Songshan International Airport as Pelosi’s military plane flew on Tuesday arrived. Lights on Taipei 101, Taiwan’s tallest building, displayed messages of welcome and gratitude for the speaker’s visit.
Other supporters met Pelosi outside her hotel along with pro-Beijing protesters who held banners and demanded that she leave.
“The good thing is that I think the world will learn more about the existence of Taiwan as a democratic country,” Xu Hao-jun, a 45-year-old software designer from Taipei, told NBC News on Wednesday. “The bad point? I don’t think China will be friendly, but that doesn’t mean just because Pelosi isn’t coming to Taiwan means they won’t be any less.”
Pelosi began the day Wednesday by addressing Taiwan’s parliament, praising the island as “one of the freest societies in the world.”
At a later ceremony, Tsai presented Pelosi with a civil medal of the highest rank and called her “one of Taiwan’s most devoted friends.”
In the afternoon, Pelosi – a longtime critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and its human rights record – met privately with three Chinese dissidents, local media reported. The delegation then boarded a plane to South Korea, the fourth stop on a larger tour of Asia that also includes Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and sees “reunification” as inevitable, if necessary by force. The Taiwanese government has rejected Beijing’s claims of sovereignty and says the island’s future should be decided by its 23 million people.
in one expression On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused the United States of provoking the controversy and encouraging supporters of Taiwan independence.
“Attempts to use the Taiwan issue to contain China are doomed to fail,” he said.
The White House says Pelosi’s visit is consistent with long-standing US policy toward Taiwan, which it says has not changed, and that there is no reason to foment conflict.
The United States “is not going to, and does not want, a crisis. We stand ready to handle whatever Beijing decides to do,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pelosi-departs-taiwan-visit-china-military-drills-rcna41266 Nancy Pelosi leaves Taiwan after China visit sparks anger