TOKYO — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that China will not isolate Taiwan by preventing U.S. officials from traveling to the island.
Her speech in Tokyo was the final leg of a trip to Asia that angered China. Pelosi said the Chinese have tried to isolate Taiwan, including recently preventing it from joining the World Health Organization.
“They may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us from traveling there,” she said.
Pelosi said that her visit was not to change the status quo in Taiwan, but to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait. She also praised Taiwan’s hard-won democracy, including its progress in diversity and its technological and commercial success, and criticized China for violating trade agreements, arms proliferation and human rights issues.
Pelosi, the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said in Taipei on Wednesday that the United States’ commitment to democracy in Taiwan and elsewhere “remains unwavering.”
Pelosi and five other members of Congress arrived in Tokyo late Thursday after visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
China, which claims Taiwan’s sovereignty and threatens to annex it by force if necessary, called her visit to Taiwan a provocation and began military exercises including missile strike training in six areas around the island on Thursday. Possibly the biggest since the founding of the country. mid-1990s.
“Let’s come to Taiwan to listen”:Pelosi strongly supports Taiwan democracy; U.S. prepares for Chinese military drills
Earlier on Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said China’s military exercises against Taiwan were a “serious issue” that threatened regional peace and security after five ballistic missiles launched as part of the exercise landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Speaking after a breakfast with Pelosi and her congressional delegation, Kishida said missile launches needed to be “stopped immediately.”
Pelosi said Wednesday in Taipei that the U.S. commitment to democracy in Taiwan and elsewhere “remains unwavering.” She became the first Speaker of the House to visit the island in 25 years.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said five missiles landed on Thursday in Japan’s exclusive economic zone near Hateruma, an island south of Japan’s main islands. He said Japan protested to China, saying the missiles “threaten Japan’s national security and the lives of the Japanese people, which we strongly condemn.”
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Lin said at a regional meeting in Cambodia that China’s actions “seriously affect the peace and stability of the region and the international community, and we demand an immediate cessation of the military exercises.”
In recent years, Japan has strengthened its defense capabilities and troop presence in southwestern Japan and remote islands, including Okinawa, about 700 kilometers (420 miles) northeast of Taiwan. Many residents said they feared their islands would soon become involved in any Taiwan conflict. Okinawa is home to the majority of the roughly 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan under bilateral security agreements.
Check out the historical tour:Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan amid escalating tensions with China
At an early Friday breakfast, Pelosi and her congressional delegation also discussed their shared security concerns with China, North Korea and Russia, and pledged to work to promote peace and stability in Taiwan, Kishida said. Pelosi will also hold talks with her Japanese counterpart, House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda.
Japan and its main ally the United States have been pushing for a new security and economic framework with other democracies in the Indo-Pacific and Europe to counter China’s growing influence amid rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
A few days before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, a group of senior Japanese lawmakers, including former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, visited the island and discussed regional security issues with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Ishipo said Japan hopes to reach a defense agreement with Taiwan while cooperating with the United States to prevent conflict in the Indo-Pacific region.
On Thursday, the G7 foreign ministers issued a statement saying that “there is no reason to use the visit as an excuse to conduct aggressive military activities in the Taiwan Strait.” China’s “escalation of its response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region,” the report said. “.
China expressed displeasure at a last-minute statement by the foreign ministers of China and Japan to cancel talks during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Cambodia on Thursday.
Pelosi held talks on Thursday in South Korea, also a key U.S. ally, that avoided the Taiwan issue, apparently to avoid angering China, and instead focused on North Korea’s growing nuclear threat.
In recent years, South Korea has struggled to strike a balance between the U.S. and China as competition between China and the U.S. has deepened.
The Chinese military exercise, which started on Thursday, involves the navy, air force and other departments and will continue until Sunday. They included missile strikes against targets in Taiwan’s northern and southern waters, echoing China’s last major military exercises in 1995 and 1996 aimed at terrorizing Taiwan’s leaders and voters.
Taiwan has put its military on alert and held civil defense exercises, while the United States has large naval assets in the region. China has also sent warplanes to Taiwan and blocked its imports of citrus and fish.
China views Taiwan as a separate province and sees visits by foreign officials as a recognition of its sovereignty.
The Biden administration and Pelosi said the U.S. remains committed to the so-called one-China policy, recognizing Beijing as the Chinese government but allowing informal and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged but did not prevent Pelosi from visiting.
Pelosi has long been an advocate for human rights in China. In 1991, she visited Tiananmen Square in Beijing with other lawmakers in support of democracy, and two years later, protesters in Tiananmen Square were subjected to a bloody military crackdown.
As House leader, Pelosi’s trip has increased U.S.-China tensions more than any other member of Congress. The last Speaker of the House to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Mainland China and Taiwan, which were divided in 1949 after the civil war, have no official ties but have multibillion-dollar business ties.