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2 Aug, 2022 15:38

Pelosi makes first statement during Taiwan visit

The US House Speaker said her controversial journey honors Washington’s “unwavering commitment” to the self-ruled island
Pelosi makes first statement during Taiwan visit

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her visit to Taiwan in “no way contradicts” Washington’s long-standing policy on the self-governed island after touching down in Taipei on Tuesday, despite stark warnings from China.

"Our Congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy," Pelosi said in a statement after landing. 

The US official said her discussions with Taiwan's leaders would focus on "reaffirming our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region."

Taiwan was not listed on Pelosi's official itinerary for the trip, which includes stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, but speculation had mounted in recent days that the third highest-ranking figure in the US government would visit the island, prompting a harsh reaction from Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of its territory under the 'One China' policy acknowledged by the United States.

China regards the trip as highly provocative and threatened "unbearable consequences" for Washington if it went ahead. On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned the US, “if you play with fire, you will get burned."

After Pelosi landed on Tuesday, the ministry said the trip would have a "severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations" and "seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Beijing said Pelosi's presence on the island “undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" and cautioned Washington it was on a "dangerous path."

Pelosi is the first speaker of the US House or Representatives to visit Taiwan in over two decades. Taiwan, which officially calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), has been self-ruled since the 1940s but has never officially declared independence from Beijing.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia stands "in absolute solidarity with China," arguing that Pelosi's trip was "purely provocative" and likely to worsen geopolitical tensions in the region.