Pelosi lands in Taiwan defying China
Calls on United States to defend the disputed island
China announce military drills in Taiwan waters
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leading a congressional delegation landed late Tuesday in Taiwan, otherwise known as Chinese Taipei aboard a US Air Force C-40B a Boeing 737 despite warnings by China, which has threatened a military response to the visit.
Pelosi’s delegation arrived at Taipei Songshan Airport before 11 p.m. local time. The delegation was greeted by Taiwanese officials.
“Our Congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement issued after her arrival.
“Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan – and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy,” she added.
Pelosi has called on the US authorities to remember their promise to support Taiwan’s defence, according to her article published in The Washington Post on Tuesday.
“The Taiwan Relations Act set out America’s commitment to a democratic Taiwan, providing the framework for an economic and diplomatic relationship that would quickly flourish into a key partnership,” she recalled. “It fostered a deep friendship rooted in shared interests and values: self-determination and self-government, democracy and freedom, human dignity and human rights.”
She called on the United States to defend Taiwan against any Chinese aggression in the newspaper article. “Today, America must remember that vow. We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience,” she emphasised.
Minutes after she landed in Taiwan, China’s Ministry of National Defence said it would conduct drills that appeared to infringe on Taiwan’s territorial waters. Ships and aircraft were warned against trespassing in those areas for “safety reasons.”
“The PLA Eastern Theater Command will conduct a series of joint military operations around the Taiwan Island from the evening of August 2,” said Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a written statement on Tuesday evening.
He specified that naval-air joint drills will be carried out in the Northern, Southwestern and Southeastern waters and airspace off the Taiwan Island, long-range combat fire live shooting in the Taiwan Strait, and conventional missile firepower test launching in the waters off Eastern Taiwan Island.
The spokesperson pointed out that these military operations are the stern deterrence against the major escalation of the US’ negative moves on the Taiwan question, and also the grave warning on the separatist actions of Taiwan.
The planned drills would likely be biggest show of Chinese military power in the region since the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1995 and 1996, when China fired missiles to intimidate the island and President Bill Clinton ordered aircraft carriers into the area.