Pelosi says the Taipei visit “unequivocally” shows that the United States will not abandon Taiwan

“We are proud of our enduring friendship,” Pelosi said, speaking alongside Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei Wednesday morning local time.

“Now more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial and that is the message we carry here today,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi’s speech came shortly after Tsai praised the speaker’s long-standing commitment to democracy and human rights and awarded her Taiwan’s highest civilian honor, the “Order of Partisan Clouds with Special Grand Cordon.”

“I look forward to displaying this award in the Speaker’s office, or wearing it there, on the Capitol as a symbol of our dear friendship,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi’s visit is the first time in 25 years that a US House speaker has visited Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory.

Pelosi traveled to Taiwan in the face of warnings from both the Biden administration and China It was a strong reaction After the House Speaker’s delegation arrived at the Congress in Taipei on Tuesday.

The Chinese military – the People’s Liberation Army – announced that it is conducting military exercises from Thursday to Sunday in response to Pelosi’s visit, including joint air and naval exercises and live-fire exercises.

On Wednesday, Tsai thanked Pelosi for her visit to the autonomous island, and said Taipei would do “whatever it takes” to boost its self-defense capacity.

“In the face of deliberately increasing military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai said at the presidential office in Taipei. “We will firmly uphold the sovereignty of our nation and continue to adhere to the line of defense of democracy. At the same time, we are willing to cooperate and work in unity with all democracies around the world to jointly protect democratic values.”

Tsai said she is committed to “maintaining peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait and pledged to make Taiwan a “key stabilizing force” for regional security and global trade development.

Pelosi attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai at the Presidential Office in Taipei, August 3, 2022.

earlier Wednesday, Pelosi She praised Taiwan as “one of the freest societies in the world” in its first public comments since becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years.

Pelosi and the US congressional delegation that she is leading also met with members of Taiwan’s parliament, and they exchanged pleasantries with Taiwan Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives Tsai Chi-chang before a closed-door meeting.

“So now we look forward to our conversation about how we can work together, learn from you and share some ideas ourselves on how to protect the planet from the climate crisis, how to accelerate and learn from you, how to tackle the Covid crisis, how to foster respect for all the people in our country as we move forward.” “And again, we come on friendship, we thank you for your leadership, we want the world to realize that.”

Tsai thanked Pelosi for coming to Taiwan and providing “strong support,” saying the US congressional delegation’s visit represents “the strongest defense and consolidation of the value of democracy and freedom.”

China conducts live-fire exercises around Taiwan during Pelosi's visit

Tuesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said 21 Chinese warplanes entered the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The incursion was carried out by 10 J-16 fighters, eight J-11 fighters, a Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft, a Y-8 electronic intelligence aircraft, and a KJ-500 airborne early warning and surveillance aircraft. , which are Taiwanese defense aircraft. The ministry said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The Taiwan military has issued radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor the activities, it added.

China frequently sends warplanes to the ADIZ declared by Taiwan. The largest incursion was recorded on October 4 last year, when 56 military aircraft flew into the area on the same day.

Air Defense Identification Zones are buffer zones created to give advance warning of incoming aircraft. It differs from and exceeds sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory’s coastline.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng summoned the US ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, late Tuesday night local time to protest the visit, Chinese state media CCTV reported on Wednesday.

However, White House officials said Pelosi’s trip was in line with US policy toward Taiwan, while warning Beijing against escalation in response.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the spokesman’s visit, saying it “fully shows the great importance that the US Congress attaches to Taiwan.”

Long-time China hawk Pelosi explained in an opinion piece published shortly after her arrival on Tuesday why she chose to be the first speaker to travel to Taiwan in 25 years, writing that the United States needed to stand by a democracy now threatened by the Chinese. Communist Party.

“We cannot stand idly by while (the Communist Party) continues to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself,” she wrote.