US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan
TAIPEI – US speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan, transported on a US military plane on Tuesday. This is the first visit of such a high ranking official from the United States 25 years which is now accelerating tensions between the United States and China.
Speaker Pelosi and her congressional commission landed at the Songshan Airport in Taipei and were welcomed by Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu and US Representative in Taiwan Sandra Oudkirk.
"Our congressional delegation's visit to Taiwan honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy," Pelosi said in a statement briefly after arriving. "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," Reuters reported.
Speaker Pelosi was on a trip to Asia that included stops in South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. The trip to Taiwan had not been made official but had been eagerly expected.
Chinese fighter planes brimmed the boundary separating the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday ahead of her destination as China's government informed against the journey by Mrs. Pelosi.
On Monday the United States said it would not be bullied by what it called Chinese “saber-rattling.” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that legislators who “play with fire” on matters about Taiwan would “come to no good end,” as stated by Reuters.
Many of Speaker Pelosi's scheduled discussions encompassing President Tsai Ing-wen were due on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of her timetable stated. Four experts say she is scheduled on Wednesday afternoon to meet a body of protesters who are unreserved about China's human rights background.
Mrs. Pelosi who is 82 years old and a close friend of President Joe Biden and both members of the US Democratic Party; has been a crucial figure in leading his congressional docket through the US Congress.
Taiwan's foreign ministry states it had “no comment” on messages of Speaker Pelosi's travel schedule; while her office also remains silent.
The largest building in Taipei, “Taipei 101” was alighted with messages involving "Welcome to Taiwan", "Speaker Pelosi", and "Taiwan (heart) the USA" on Tuesday.
Several Chinese military aircraft glided close to the median line separating the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday before departing later in the day. Several Chinese military sea-crafts also floated near the unconventional separating line since Monday and have stayed there.
Neither Taiwan nor China's military aircraft regularly cross the median line.
Four US military warships accompanying the USS Ronald Reagan were deposited in waters east of Taiwan on what the US Navy referred to as “routine deployments.” The carrier crossed the South China Sea and was now in the Philippines Sea, east of Taiwan and the Philippines and south of Japan, a representative of the US Navy disclosed to Reuters.
It is administered with the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam and destroyer USS Higgins with the aquatic assault ship USS Tripoli in the region.
Since last week China's People's Liberation Army has carried out various military exercises including live-fire drills in the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, and the South China Sea.
Russia, which finds itself in growing tensions over the conflict in Ukraine also sounded off on Mrs. Pelosi's visit. Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that “the visit was a provocative U.S. attempt to pile pressure on China, a country with which Russia has forged a strong partnership in recent years,” according to Reuters. She also stated, "The USA is a state provocateur," Zakharova said. "Russia confirms the principle of 'one China' and opposes the independence of the island in any form."
Earlier in the day on Tuesday Speaker Pelosi visited Malaysia, having started her journey in Singapore on Monday. Her office indicated there would be visits to Japan and South Korea but neglected to note a Taiwan visit.
Taiwan's Defense Ministry stated that it had a handle on the armed forces' activities near Taiwan and that it would activate the appropriate forces in reaction to “enemy threats.” The foreign and defense ministries of China did not reply to questions or comments.
Xiamen, which lies in the Southeast of China across from Taiwan has a very large armed forces attendance with citizens reporting viewing armored vehicles in proximity.
During the phone call last week between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping; the Chinese president informed President Biden to “abide by the one-China principle and those who play with fire will perish by it,” Reuters reported, and President Biden told President Jinping that US guidelines on Taiwan were unchanged and that Washington disputes “unilateral efforts to change the status quo” or to alter peace and stability in the region.
John Kirby, a White House national security representative stated on Monday that Beijing's challenge could encompass firing missiles near Taiwan, massive scale naval or air activities, or "spurious legal claims" akin to China's insistence on the Taiwan Strait as not being an international water passageway.
"We will not take the bait or engage in saber-rattling. At the same time, we will not be intimidated," Kirby said.
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