Aug 2 () –
Beijing “strongly” condemns the visit and assures that “concessions have no place”.
Chinese military to conduct military maneuvers in areas near island throughout week
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed Tuesday in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, despite alerts and threats from the Chinese government, and defended that the visit “in no way contradicts U.S. policy.”
“Our visit is one of many by parliamentary delegations to Taiwan and is in keeping with U.S. policy and the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and Sino-U.S. joint communiqués,” he said in a statement in which he qualified that the United States “opposes any effort that seeks to alter the ‘status quo’.”
“Our visit honors the United States’ unwavering commitment to Taiwan and support for democracy,” he asserted despite China’s insistence in recent days that it will take “forceful” action should he travel to Taiwanese soil.
In this sense, he has stressed that this is a trip that is part of his tour of various countries in the Indo-Pacific, including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, and that focuses on “mutual security, economic cooperation and democratic governance.”
“Our discussions with Taiwanese officials will focus on reaffirming our support for a partner and allow us to address common interests. U.S. solidarity with 23 million people in Taiwan is more important today than ever as the world grapples with the debate between autocracy and democracy,” the text said.
This same Tuesday, Pelosi has written an opinion column in the newspaper ‘The Washington Post’ in which she has insisted that the trip is a sign of support in the face of “the growing aggression of the Chinese Communist Party against Taiwan.”
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has remained off her public itinerary until the last moment, stoking uncertainty and putting the Chinese and Taiwanese militaries on alert, which have stepped up their combat readiness throughout the day.
Her arrival on the island comes as part of her tour of Asia, which has previously taken her to Singapore and Malaysia. It is also the first by a Speaker of the House of Representatives in 25 years.
CONDEMNATION OF CHINA
The Chinese government, which has been quick to react, has strongly condemned the visit “despite the alerts pronounced by the Chinese side.” The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the visit sends “wrong signals to the separatist forces” in the region, which “seek Taiwan’s independence” and assured that it will convey to the U.S. side “its protest”.
Moreover, the authorities of the Asian giant have defended that the Taiwanese issue “is part of the internal affairs of the country in terms of sovereignty and territorial integrity” and has affirmed “concessions have no place” in relation to this issue.
The Chinese Ministry of Defense has declared itself on “high alert” and has spoken of “countermeasures” with the aim of “defending national sovereignty”, as reported by its spokesman, Wu Qian, after Pelosi’s arrival.
The Taiwan Working Office of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has pointed out that a “collusion” between the Democratic Progressive Party and the United States “will lead Taiwan into the abyss and will only bring disaster for Taiwanese compatriots.”
In turn, the Foreign Commission of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body, has called the visit a “great provocation” and said it is a “violation of the ‘one China’ principle and Sino-U.S. communiques, as well as the most basic norms of international law.” “The visit damages the relations between the parties,” the entity has asserted, calling on Washington to cut all relations with Taipei, “as promised.”
Chinese laws stipulate in detail that Taiwan adheres to the ‘one China’ principle, with which the government seeks to silence pro-independence voices on the island and oppose possible interference by third parties in that matter. “Any attempt to obstruct the complete reunification of China is doomed to failure,” said a spokesman for the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress.
In this regard, the authorities have confirmed that the Chinese Army is scheduled to carry out a series of “major” military exercises from Thursday until Sunday, as well as several training maneuvers in areas near the island.
Sources close to the matter have indicated in declarations to the Chinese television channel CCTV that shortly before the plane has landed at the Taipei Songshan Airport — where it has been received by hundreds of people — several Su-35 fighters of the Chinese Air Force have taken off to head for the Taiwan Strait.
On the other hand, eight U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters stationed at the Okinawa base in Japan have taken off for Taiwan to protect Pelosi and her delegation of five congressmen, according to information from the Japanese broadcaster NHK.
Pelosi, who has traveled with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, is scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday morning from the hotel where she is staying, according to the Taiwanese newspaper ‘United Daily News’. Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano and Congressmen Suzan DelBene, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Andy Kim are also part of the delegation.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday that the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives “has the right” to travel to Taiwan if she wants to and has recalled that another U.S. Speaker — Newt Gigrich — already visited the island in 1997, at which time there was no rise in tensions.
The Asian giant considers Taiwan as another province under its sovereignty despite the Taiwanese secessionist discourse and the support shown by the United States and the European Union.