US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has raised tensions between Washington and Beijing, despite the White House’s promise of no change to its long-standing “one-China” policy. Pelosi’s visit is being closely followed around the world, and especially in China, where the country’s microblogging platform Weibo briefly crashed as millions of people discussed and debated her Asia trip.
Here are the latest updates on Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan:
- Patriotic fervor erupted on Chinese social media over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as many internet users called for a more muscular response from their government. Hashtags related to Pelosi’s visit, such as her determination to realize “national reunification is rock solid,” have gone viral on China’s Weibo microblogging platform, Reuters reported.
- China announced retaliatory live-fire military drills around Taiwan and warned airlines operating in Asia to avoid airspace designated as “danger zones”, which it said the trade-dependent island was under “blockade”.
- Taiwan’s defense ministry described the drills as an “irrational move to challenge international order” but China insisted it had not seen the drills causing freedom of navigation issues. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press conference that China’s military actions are a deterrent to Taiwan. He said Beijing’s response was “firm, strong and effective”.
- Taiwan, meanwhile, has started talks with neighboring Japan and the Philippines to find alternative aviation routes, the official Central News Agency (CNA) reported.
- China suspended exports of natural sand to Taiwan and halted imports of fruit and fish products from the self-ruled island. It vowed to take “disciplinary measures” against the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Taiwan Foreign Ministry’s International Cooperation and Development Fund, which it said had aggressively engaged in pro-independence separatist activities.
- Pelosi became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, drawing the ire of China, with the US House speaker hinting that the anger was not due to her political position but to her gender. He noted that several US senators, including the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, have visited the self-governing island.
- Pelosi said, “They made a big fuss because I’m the speaker, I guess. I don’t know if this is a reason or an excuse. Because when the men came they didn’t say anything.
(With inputs from Bloomberg, Reuters)
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