Pelosi: China cannot isolate Taiwan by preventing visits


China will not be able to isolate Taiwan by preventing US officials from traveling there, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in Tokyo on Friday, wrapping up a tour of Asia highlighted by a visit to Taipei that angered Beijing.

Beijing has tried to isolate Taiwan, including by preventing the self-governing island from joining the World Health Organization, Pelosi said.

“They may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or engaging in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us from traveling there,” he said, defending his trip which has heightened tensions in the region.

Pelosi said her visit to Taiwan was not intended to change the island’s status quo, but rather to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and mainland China. He praised Taiwan’s hard-fought democracy and success in technology and business, while criticizing China’s violations of trade deals, weapons proliferation and human rights issues, including its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority.

“If we don’t defend human rights in China for commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights anywhere in the world,” Pelosi told a news conference. “China has some contradictions: some progress in terms of lifting people up, some horrible things happening in terms of the Uyghurs. In fact, it has been labeled genocide.”

Pelosi said that “the two big countries,” the United States and China, should communicate on areas such as climate and other global issues. “It’s not about our visit determining what the relationship is between the United States and China. It’s a much bigger and longer-term challenge, and once again we have to recognize that we have to work together in certain areas.”

China announced Friday that it will cancel or suspend talks with the United States on a range of issues, from climate change to military relations to anti-drug efforts in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit. He also announced unspecified sanctions against Pelosi and his family. Typically, such sanctions are mostly symbolic in nature.

China, which claims Taiwan and has threatened to annex it by force if necessary, called Pelosi’s visit provocative and on Thursday began military exercises, including missile training, in six areas surrounding Taiwan, in what could be the largest since the mid-1990s.

Pelosi, the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said China launched the “strike probably using our visit as an excuse.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said China’s military drills pose a “serious problem” threatening regional peace and security after five missiles launched as part of the drills landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone near a remote southwestern island.

Kishida, speaking after a breakfast meeting with Pelosi and her congressional delegation, said the missile launches must “stop immediately.”

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said he believes China intentionally fired the five missiles into the area claimed by Japan, which China refuses to acknowledge. The ministry said it believes another four missiles fired from China’s southeast coast of Fujian flew over Taiwan.

Tetsuo Kotani, a professor at Meikai University and a senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, tweeted that the trip gave China an excuse to ignore the median line in the Taiwan Strait, which has been a buffer zone for decades. unofficial, and the Japanese exclusive. economic zone, and could add risks to US and other warships passing through the strait.

In recent years, Japan has beefed up its defense capabilities and troop presence in southwestern Japan and on remote islands, including Okinawa, which is about 700 kilometers (420 miles) northeast of Taiwan. Many residents say they worry that their island could quickly become engulfed in any Taiwan conflict. Okinawa hosts most of the 50,000 US troops based in Japan under a bilateral security pact.

Pelosi and five other members of Congress arrived in Tokyo Thursday night after visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.

At their breakfast meeting, Kishida said Pelosi and her delegation discussed shared security concerns about China, North Korea and Russia and pledged to work for peace and stability in Taiwan. Pelosi also held talks with his Japanese counterpart, House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda, after witnessing a plenary session in which they were greeted with a standing ovation.

Japan and its key ally the US have been pushing for new economic and security frameworks with other democracies in the Indo-Pacific region and Europe to counter China’s growing influence amid rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei. .

Days before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, a group of top Japanese lawmakers, including former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, visited the island and discussed regional security with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Ishiba said that Japan, while working with the United States to prevent conflicts in the Indo-Pacific, wants a defense agreement with Taiwan.

Chinese military exercises launched on Thursday involve its navy, air force and other departments and will last until Sunday. They include missile attacks on targets in the seas to the north and south of the island in an echo of the last major Chinese military exercises in 1995 and 1996 aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters.

Taiwan has put its military on alert and has conducted civil defense exercises, while the United States has numerous naval assets in the area.

China has also flown warplanes into Taiwan and blocked imports of its citrus and fish.

China sees the island as a breakaway province and views visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognition of its sovereignty.

The Biden administration and Pelosi have said the United States remains committed to a “one China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged, but did not prevent, Pelosi’s visit.

Pelosi has been a longtime advocate for human rights in China. She, along with other lawmakers, visited Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1991 to support democracy two years after a bloody military crackdown on protesters in the square.

As leader of the House of Representatives, Pelosi’s trip has raised tensions between the United States and China more than visits by other members of Congress. The last House Speaker to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.

China and Taiwan, which split in 1949 after a civil war, have no official relations but do have multibillion-dollar trade ties.


Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, and Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

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