Pelosi visits South Korea

Seoul, South Korea – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with top South Korean political leaders on Thursday, a day after she renews Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to protect democracy on the self-governing island. Ended the high-profile trip. Strong opposition to China,

As regional tensions rise after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China is preparing to launch its biggest military maneuver aimed at Taiwan in more than a quarter century in response.

After visiting Taiwan, Pelosi and other members of Congress flew to South Korea – a key US ally where about 28,500 US troops are stationed – on Wednesday evening, as part of an Asian tour that will include Singapore and Malaysia. Includes stops. After South Korea, he will travel to Japan.

On Thursday, Pelosi met with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and other senior members of parliament to discuss regional security, economic cooperation and climate issues. Prior to their conversation, live TV footage showed Kim and Pelosi slamming elbows and posing for a photo in front of the South Korean and US national flags.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, second right, talks with Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea Kim Jin Pyo, third left, during their meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.  (Kim Min-hee/Pool Photo via AP)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to South Korea after a controversial trip to Taiwan.
AP. via Kim Min-hee / Pool Photo

Later in the day, Pelosi planned to visit an inter-Korean border area jointly controlled by the US-led United Nations Command and North Korea, a South Korean official said requesting anonymity. Because he was not authorized to talk to the media on the matter. ,

If that visit takes place, Pelosi will be the highest level American to visit in a joint security zone since President Donald Trump went there in 2019 for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Sitting inside a 2.5-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone, a buffer created at the end of the 1950–53 Korean War, the JSA is the site of past bloodshed and several negotiations. US presidents and other top officials have frequently traveled to the JSA and other border areas to reaffirm their security commitment to South Korea.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks with Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea, Kim Jin Pyo, during their meeting in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.  (Kim Min-hee/Pool Photo via AP)
Pelosi speaks with Kim Jim Pyo, Speaker of the South Korean National Assembly, during his visit on August 4, 2022.
AP. via Kim Min-hee / Pool Photo

Pyongyang is sure to react sharply to any statement by Pelosi criticizing North Korea. On Wednesday, the North’s foreign ministry slammed the United States over her visit to Taiwan, saying “the current situation clearly shows that there is a relentless US interference in the internal affairs of other countries.”

According to Yoon’s office, on Thursday afternoon, Pelosi will speak on the phone with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is on leave this week. No face-to-face meeting has been arranged between them. Yoon, a conservative, took office in May with a pledge to boost South Korea’s military alliance with the United States and take a tough line on North Korean provocation.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the first by a current House speaker in 25 years, has angered China, which views the island nation as a separate province, to be annexed by force if necessary. China sees the visit by foreign officials to Taiwan as a recognition of its sovereignty.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center left, and South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo, center right, inspect an honor guard as they arrive at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug.  (Lee Jung - Hoon/Yonhap Via AP)
An honor guard greeted Pelosi upon her arrival in Seoul.
AP. via Lee Jung-hoon / Yonhap

“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” Pelosi said in a brief speech Wednesday 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.”

The Biden administration and Pelosi have said the United States remains committed to the so-called one-China policy, which recognizes Beijing but allows for informal ties and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged but did not stop Pelosi from coming.

The military exercise China is planning in response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is to begin on Thursday and includes live fire. They will be Taiwan’s biggest target since 1995, when China fired massive missiles to show its displeasure over the visit of then Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to the US.

Demonstrators, two of whom are wearing masks of US President Joe Biden, left, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, of a rally to protest a planned joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States called Ulchi Freedom Shield do the staging.  Visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to South Korea, in front of the Presidential Office in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, August 4, 2022.  The banner reads, "Stop Ulchi Freedom Shield." (AP photo/Ah Young-joon)
Protesters stage a rally to protest a planned joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States, called Ulchi Freedom Shield, during the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to South Korea.
AP photo/Ah Young-joon

China has already flown fighter jets and other warplanes towards Taiwan, and has stopped imports of citrus and fish from Taiwan.

Tsai strongly pushed back against Beijing’s military exercises, parts of which would enter Taiwanese waters.

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

In Washington, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby sought to ease fears. He told ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​on Wednesday that US officials “do not believe we are on the brink anymore, and certainly have no reason to talk about anyone being on the verge of moving on.” “

Addressing Beijing’s threats, Pelosi said she hoped it was clear that China prevented Taiwan from participating in some international meetings, “that they understand that they are using Taiwan as a show of friendship and support.” Won’t stand in the way of those who come.”

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo as she arrives at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.  (Lee Jung-hoon/Yonhap via AP)
Pelosi will leave for Japan after her visit to South Korea.
AP. via Lee Jung-hoon / Yonhap

Pelosi noted that Congress’s support for Taiwan is bipartisan, and praised the island’s democracy. He stopped saying that the US would defend Taiwan militarily and stressed that Congress was “committed to the security of Taiwan, so that Taiwan can defend itself most effectively.”

On Thursday, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations called for peace in the Taiwan Strait, urging against any “provocative action”. ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for a regional forum, said they were concerned that the situation “could destabilize the region and ultimately lead to miscalculations, serious confrontations, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences between major powers.” can.”

Pelosi’s focus has always been the same, he said, going back to his 1991 visit to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, when he and other lawmakers held a pro-democracy campaign two years after a bloody military crackdown on protesters in the square. Hoisted a small banner. That visit was also about human rights and what he called dangerous technology transfers to “rogue countries.”

Pelosi’s visit further escalated US-China tensions compared to visits by other members of Congress due to her position as leader of the House of Representatives. The last House Speaker to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.

China and Taiwan, which split after a civil war in 1949, have no official ties, but trade ties worth billions of dollars.

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