House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan’s capital Taipei on Tuesday, reaching for a controversial stage on that Asian countries tour Which has become a flashpoint in the midst of rising tensions between the US and China.
Pelosi and other members of Congress emerged from a US military jet after landing in Taipei on Tuesday evening local time, and were received by a group of Taiwanese officials. According to the website, the aircraft traveled on a flight path from Kuala Lumpur, avoiding the South China Sea and the Chinese mainland. information about flying,
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has been covertly called off and sparked anger from Beijing, raising the prospect of a military response to the trip. The White House has said it has no control over Pelosi’s decision to visit the island, and has insisted there has been no change in US policy towards Taiwan and the Chinese government.
As the second in line for the presidency, Pelosi is the highest-ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years. The California Democrat’s pushback against Beijing dates back to 1991, when he displayed a pro-democracy banner in Tiananmen Square in defiance of Chinese officials.
In a statement shortly after the plane landed, Pelosi said her visit was to honor “the United States’ unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”
“Our discussions with the Taiwanese leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and promoting our common interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” he said. “America’s solidarity with Taiwan’s 23 million people is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”
The speaker stressed that the visit is “not contrary to long-standing United States policy” toward Taiwan and China, and added that the US “continues to resist unilateral efforts to change the status quo.”
A Taiwanese government official said Pelosi is expected to meet President Tsai Ing-wen and members of the legislature in Taipei. She is not expected to meet the city’s mayor Wen-jae, the chairman of the pro-China Taiwan People’s Party, and is expected to only meet members of the DPP, or Democratic Progressive Party. The US delegation is expected to leave on Tuesday night after staying in the capital and holding meetings all day on Wednesday.
Skyscraper Taipei 101, the island’s iconic tallest building, sent a flurry of welcoming messages to the capital ahead of Pelosi’s arrival Tuesday evening.
Beijing considers self-ruled Taiwan to be part of China, and Chinese officials have been warning they would treat Pelosi’s visit as a major provocation.
During a two-hour phone call with President Biden last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping asked Pelosi to cancel the trip. Earlier in July, Mr Biden said US military officials thought it was “not a good idea” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan right now.
According to ReutersChinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that his military “won’t sit idly by” if Pelosi visited. During a daily briefing, Lijan said the visit of “the No. 3 official of the US government” would have “serious political implications.”
On Monday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed that Pelosi was traveling in a US military plane, and said he had been briefed on Taiwan.
“There have been direct talks with the speaker and his staff before moving on to various levels in the national security establishment,” Kirby said, although he did not confirm any of his plans to travel to Taiwan. “The President did not speak directly to the Speaker about this visit.”
Kirby stated that “speakers make their own decisions” when asked if the military still believed it was not a good idea for them to leave. “What we did was to provide him with context, analysis, facts, information, so that he could make the best decision for every stop for every foreign trip,” Kirby said.
But Kirby warned about China’s “saber rattle”, including military provocations such as potentially firing missiles into the Taiwan Strait and massive air entry into Taiwan’s airspace. He also referred to diplomatic escalations, such as Beijing’s public claim last week that the Taiwan Strait is not an international waterway.
“Some of these actions will continue in relation to the trend lines observed in recent years, but some may be of a different scope and scale,” Kirby said. “The last time Beijing fired missiles at the Taiwan Strait was in 1995 and 1996, when Beijing responded with a provocative response to the Taiwanese president’s speech at his alma mater.”
The split between Taiwan and the mainland government began in 1949, when Chinese nationalists fled to the island amid a civil war with the Chinese Communist Party. The government of Taiwan considers itself to be the legitimate government of China. Beijing sees the island as a broken rogue state and part of its territory.
The US recognized Beijing as the legitimate Chinese government in 1979 and did not support Taiwan’s independence, but maintained informal relations with the government, adhering to a policy of “strategic ambiguity”. A 2018 law known as the Taiwan Travel Act made US-Taiwan relations official, but below the level of formal diplomatic relations.
Pelosi is not the first House speaker to visit Taiwan. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, visited in 1997. Other US officials have made low-profile visits to Taiwan to show support for the island, but Pelosi’s visit has attracted a great deal of attention.