Pelosi in Taiwan says world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan after a visit that raised tensions with China, saying on Wednesday that she and other members of Congress in her delegation had shown they would not abandon the his commitment to the autonomous island.

Pelosi, the first US speaker to set foot on the island in more than 25 years, courted Beijing’s ire and sparked more than a week of debate over whether the visit was a good idea after she the news leaked. In Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, it remained calm but defiant.

“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” he said in a brief speech during a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. “The United States’ determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains steadfast.”

Pelosi arrived at a military base in South Korea on Wednesday evening ahead of meetings with political leaders in Seoul, after which she will visit Japan. Both countries are alliance partners of the United States, home to around 80,000 US personnel as a bulwark against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and China’s increasing assertiveness in the China Seas from the South and the East.

Together with former political prisoners, our delegation visited the National Museum of Human Rights: a tribute to the heroes who suffered and fought for Taiwan’s democracy. Then we heard from civil society leaders about human rights. We have come to listen and learn; we left inspired by their courage. pic.twitter.com/dsKa02n0Ka

@SpeakerPelosi

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement of Taiwanese officials with foreign governments, announced multiple military exercises around the island, parts of which will enter Taiwanese waters, and issued a series of harsh statements after the delegation hit the floor on Tuesday night. the capital of Taiwan, Taipei.

Taiwan denounced the planned actions, saying they violated the island’s sovereignty.

“This act is tantamount to sealing off Taiwan by air and sea, such an act covers our country’s territory and territorial waters and seriously violates our country’s territorial sovereignty,” Captain Jian-chang Yu said at a Ministry briefing. of National Defense.

China’s military exercises are scheduled for Thursday

Chinese military drills, including live-fire, will begin on Thursday and will be the largest aimed at Taiwan since 1995, when China fired missiles in a large-scale exercise to show its displeasure at a visit by then-Taiwanese President Lee hold today in the USA

Taiwanese President Tsai responded firmly on Wednesday to Beijing’s military intimidation.

“In the face of deliberately intensified military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai said in her meeting with Pelosi. “We will firmly defend the sovereignty of our nation and continue to maintain the line of defense of democracy.”

LOOK | Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan triggers strong Chinese response:

US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan provokes a strong Chinese response

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first high-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. The trip prompted a fiery response from China, including live-fire military drills around Taiwan.

In Washington, John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said Wednesday that the United States expected more military exercises and other actions by China in the coming days as the country’s armed forces “flex their muscles.”

Still, “we don’t think we’re on the edge now, and there’s certainly no reason for anyone to talk about being on the edge in the future,” Kirby told ABC’s Good Morning America.

US-China tensions

Pelosi’s trip has raised tensions between the United States and China more than visits by other members of Congress because of her high-profile position as leader of the House of Representatives. She is the first House Speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, since Newt Gingrich in 1997. However, other members of Congress have visited Taiwan in the past year.

Tsai, thanking Pelosi for her decades of support for Taiwan, presented the speaker with a civilian honor, the Order of Auspicious Clouds.

Pelosi leaves the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s House of Parliament, on Wednesday in Taipei, Taiwan. Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday as part of a tour of Asia aimed at reassuring allies in the region. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

China’s response has been strong and has reached multiple fronts: diplomatic, economic and military.

Shortly after Pelosi landed on Tuesday night, China announced live-fire drills that reportedly began that night, as well as four days of drills starting Thursday.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force also flew a contingent of 21 warplanes, including fighter jets, to Taiwan on Tuesday night. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng also summoned the US ambassador to Beijing, Nicholas Burns, to relay the country’s protests that same night.

Taiwan has bipartisan support, Pelosi says

Pelosi addressed Beijing’s threats Wednesday morning, saying she hoped it would be clear that while China has barred Taiwan from attending certain international meetings, “they understand that they are not going to stop people from coming to Taiwan as a show of ‘friendship and support’.

He noted that support for Taiwan is bipartisan in Congress and praised the island’s democracy. She stopped short of saying the US would defend Taiwan militarily, stressing that Congress is “committed to Taiwan’s security, so that Taiwan can defend itself as effectively as possible.”

Her approach has always been the same, she said, dating back to her 1991 visit to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, when she and other lawmakers unfurled a small pro-democracy banner two years after a bloody military repression against the demonstrators in the square. That visit also dealt with human rights and what she called dangerous technology transfers to “rogue countries.”

Pelosi visited a human rights museum in Taipei detailing the history of the island’s martial law era and met with some of Taiwan’s most prominent rights activists, including a former bookseller in exile from Hong Kong who was arrested by the Chinese authorities, Lam Wing-kee.

Biden tried to play down the visit

Pelosi, who is leading the trip with five other members of Congress, also met with representatives of Taiwan’s legislature.

Pelosi’s Asia tour also included stops in Singapore and Malaysia.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has tried to tone down the visit to Taiwan, insisting there is no change in the long-standing US “one China policy”, which recognizes Beijing but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

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