Washington, DC – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Members of a Congressional Delegation arrived in Taiwan. This visit is the first official visit to Taiwan by a Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 25 years.
Xinhua News Agency issued a notice that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will be conducting military exercises, training activities, and live-fire drills from 1200 (Beijing Time) August 4 to 1200 (Beijing Time) August 7, 2022 in the maritime areas and air space surrounding Taiwan.
In a statement, Speaker Pelosi said that the delegation’s visit to Taiwan” honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy.”
“Our visit is part of our broader trip to the Indo-Pacific — including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan — focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance. Our discussions with Taiwan leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. 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,” said Pelosi.
The Speaker said that the visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan, and does not contradict long standing US policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, US-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances. “The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said the “US will be held liable and pay the price for hurting China’s sovereignty and security interests.” Chinese government officials tweeted that China’s Su-35 fighter jets are crossing the Taiwan Straits.
In a Washington Post OpEd, Pelosi noted the solemn vow by the US to support the defense of Taiwan: “to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means … a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”
She noted the increased tensions between the PRC and Taiwan, including “ramped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over Taiwan’s air defense zone, leading the US Defense Department to conclude that China’s army is “likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force.”
In the OpED, Pelosi said that the PRC has taken the fight into cyberspace, launching attacks on Taiwan government agencies. They are putting pressure on international businesses to cut sever ties with the island, intimidating countries that cooperate with Taiwan, and clamping down on tourism from the PRC.
“In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 25 other Republican senators issued a joint statement in support of Speaker Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to Taiwan. “We support Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have travelled to Taiwan. This travel is consistent with the United States’ One China policy to which we are committed. We are also committed now, more than ever, to all elements of the Taiwan Relations Act.”
In reaction to Pelosi’s visit, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement cautioning the US that those who play with fire will perish by it. Calling the visit a violation of the One-China principle, the statement said, “It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence”. China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this, and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the United States.”
The statement said that China is opposed to all visits to Taiwan by US Congressional members, Speaker Pelosi’s “visit to and activities in Taiwan, in whatever form and for whatever reason, is a major political provocation… China absolutely does not accept this, and the Chinese people absolutely reject this.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the U. Speaker’s visit, and all the consequences arising from it must be borne by the US and the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, in a statement said, the “PRC announcing air-naval live-fire drills around Taiwan is self-evidently apparent that they seek a cross-strait resolution by force instead of peaceful means. Activities around our territory are closely monitored by #ROCMND and, we will respond appropriately.” The statement added that the CCP’s announcement of using the sea and airspace around Taiwan’s main island as a live-fire area is an attempt to threaten our important ports and urban areas, and unilaterally undermine regional peace and stability. This move will not help China’s international image and hurt people on both sides of the strait.