US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her delegation on Tuesday night arrived in Taiwan for a visit that erupted high voltage drama between the United States and China. Beijing had warned that Washington would pay the price if Pelosi went to Taiwan. However, she said her trip “in no way” contradicted official US policy, which recognises “one China” and has not officially recognised Taiwan as an independent state.
Pelosi, who became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, arrived by the US Air Force plane and was received at the tarmac of the Taipei airport by Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
Beijing routinely protests any foreign dignitaries’ visits to Taiwan, which claims it’s own and firmly insists all countries follow the One China policy acknowledging that the breakaway province is part of its mainland.
Here are some top updates on Pelosi’s Taiwan visit amid numerous warnings by China:
- Ahead of Pelosi’s visit, Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying told a media briefing, “The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereign security interests.” Hua reiterated that Beijing would take strong measures in response to Pelosi’s visit.
- As the Taiwan media reported her arrival, the Chinese official social media reported a large-scale military movement in the Taiwan Straits. Citing a social media account, state-run China Daily had reported that PLA Air Force’s Su-35 fighter jet(s) is crossing the Taiwan Straits. However, Chinese defence ministry later refuted these claims and called it “fake”.
- China’s official media also reported air and ground movement of troops in the Taiwan Straits, the waters that separate China and Taiwan.
- After Pelosi landed in Taiwan, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement and said that her visit is a “serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques”.
- Citing the Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Sr. Col. Wu Qian, state-run Global Times reported that the Chinese military “will launch a series of targeted military operations to counter Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan island, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Joint military activities will be conducted around Taiwan island starting Tuesday night to deter US provocations on the Taiwan question and warn “Taiwan Independence separatists”, said Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for China’s PLA Eastern Theatre Command, on Tuesday.
- Issuing an official statement upon arrival, Pelosi said that the US delegation’s visit “honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.” She said that her “visit reiterates that America stands with Taiwan: a robust, vibrant democracy and our important partner in the Indo-Pacific.”
- Pelosi is scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Tsi-Ing-wen, whom China accuses as separatist, on Wednesday after which she will fly out of the island in the afternoon local time, according to Taiwan Central news agency.
- Meanwhile, Taiwan said Pelosi’s visit shows “rock solid” support from the US. “We believe that the visit by Speaker Pelosi… will strengthen the close and friendly relations between Taiwan and the United States, and further deepen the global cooperation between the two sides in all areas,” Taipei’s foreign ministry said.
- More than 20 Chinese military planes flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone, officials in Taipei said. The island’s defence ministry said in a statement on Twitter: “21 PLA aircraft … entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on August 2, 2022,” referring to the air defence identification zone. The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan’s territorial airspace but includes a far greater area that overlaps with part of China’s own air defence identification zone and even includes some of the mainland, reports news agency AFP.
(with inputs from agencies)