TAIPEI, Taiwan – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meeting with leaders in Taiwan despite warnings from China, said on Wednesday that she and other members of Congress are showing in a delegation that they will not abandon their commitment to the self-governing island .
“Today the world is facing a choice between democracy and autocracy,” she said in a brief speech during a meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. “America’s determination to uphold democracy here, in Taiwan and around the world, is made of iron.”
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement with foreign governments by Taiwanese officials, announced a series of military exercises around the island and delegations in Taiwan’s capital Taipei on Tuesday night. After touching on, issued a series of harsh statements.
Pelosi’s visit has fueled more US-China tensions than visits by other members of Congress due to her high-level position as leader of the House of Representatives. She is the first speaker of the House to visit Taiwan in 25 years, since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Tsai presented the speaker with the Order of the Propious Clouds, a civilian honour, thanking Pelosi for decades of support for Taiwan. She was more outspoken about the Chinese threats in her comments than Pelosi.
“In the face of deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai said. “We will firmly uphold the sovereignty of our country and continue to defend democracy.”
Shortly after Pelosi landed, China announced live-fire exercises that would begin Tuesday night and a four-day exercise in waters on all sides of the island from Thursday.
China’s air force flew a relatively large contingent of 21 warplanes, including fighter jets, to Taiwan.
Pelosi noted that support for Taiwan is bipartisan in Congress and praised the island’s democracy.
His focus has always been the same, he said, going back to his visit to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1991, when he and other lawmakers held a small supporting democracy, two years after a bloody military crackdown on protesters in the square. Banner hoisted.
The visit was also about human rights and what he called dangerous technology transfers to “rogue countries.”
Pelosi is visiting a human rights museum in Taipei on Wednesday before departing for South Korea, the next stop on an Asia tour that also includes Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
Pelosi, who is leading the visit along with five other members of Congress, met with representatives of Taiwan’s legislature on Wednesday.
“Without any fear, the president’s visit to Taiwan with the delegation is the strongest defense to uphold human rights and strengthen the values of democracy and freedom,” Tsai Chi-chang, deputy chairman of Taiwan’s legislature, said at the reception.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to reduce the amount of travel, insisting there is no change in the US “one-China policy”, which recognizes Beijing but is unofficial with Taipei. Allows ties and defense ties.
Pelosi said her delegation is “heavy”, which includes House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks and House Intelligence Committee’s Raja Krishnamurthy.
He also mentioned Representative Suzanne DelBene, whom Pelosi said was instrumental in passing a $280 billion bill aimed at boosting American manufacturing and research into semiconductor chips – an industry that In which Taiwan dominates which is important for modern electronics.
Representatives Andy Kim and Mark Takano are also in the delegation.