US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed Taiwan’s parliament on Wednesday and met with its president and human rights activists during a visit to the island that has angered Beijing.
China denounced the highest-level US visit to Taiwan as a threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait in 25 years, responded with a flurry of military exercises, summoned the US ambassador to Beijing and announced the suspension of several agricultural imports from Taiwan. .
Pelosi arrived in Taipei late on Tuesday for an unannounced but closely watched trip, saying the US would show unwavering commitment to the self-governing island, which Beijing says is part of China.
On Wednesday, Pelosi thanked President Tsai Ing-wen for her leadership, calling for increased inter-parliamentary cooperation.
“We appreciate Taiwan as one of the freest societies in the world,” Pelosi told Taiwan’s parliament.
He said the new US legislation, aimed at strengthening the American chip industry to compete with China, “will provide greater opportunity for US-Taiwan economic cooperation”.
Pelosi is not the first House speaker to visit Taiwan – Newt Gingrich visited in 1997 – as relations between Beijing and Washington have soured sharply, and with China more than a quarter of the country’s most powerful economic, military and geopolitical power. A century ago.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. The United States warned China against using the visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.
Early on Wednesday, China’s customs department announced a freeze on imports of citrus fruits, frozen white striped hair and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan, while its commerce ministry suspended exports of natural sand to Taiwan.
A longtime China critic, particularly on human rights, Pelosi was set to meet Wednesday with a former Tiananmen activist, a Hong Kong bookseller detained by China and a Taiwanese activist recently released from China, people familiar with the matter. He said.
Shortly after Pelosi’s arrival, China’s military announced joint air and sea drills near Taiwan and test launches of conventional missiles in the sea east of Taiwan, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported, detailing live-fire drills and other exercises around Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday.
China’s Foreign Ministry said Pelosi’s visit would seriously harm peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, “severely affect the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously violate China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Before Pelosi’s arrival on Tuesday, Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait. China’s military is on high alert and has said it will launch “targeted military operations” in response to Pelosi’s visit.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said after Pelosi’s arrival on Tuesday that the United States was “not intimidated” by China’s threats or bellicose rhetoric and that there was no reason her visit would cause a crisis or conflict.
“We will continue to support Taiwan, defend a free and open Indo-Pacific and try to maintain communication with Beijing,” Kirby said at a later White House briefing, adding that the United States “will not engage in saber-rattling.”
Kirby said China could engage in “economic coercion” toward Taiwan, adding that the impact on American-Chinese relations would depend on Beijing’s actions in the coming days and weeks.
The United States has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by American law to provide a means of defending itself. China views the visit of US officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the island. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide the island’s future.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said 21 Chinese aircraft entered its air defense identification zone on Tuesday and China was trying to threaten major ports and cities around the island.
“The drill areas are coming into the busiest international channels in the Indo-Pacific region,” a senior Taiwanese official familiar with its security planning told Reuters on Wednesday.
“We can see China’s ambition: to make the Taiwan Strait non-international waters, as well as the entire area west of the first island chain in the western Pacific as its sphere of influence,” the person said.