Putin comments on ‘grandma’ Pelosi visiting Taiwan
Having US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visit Taiwan was purely a provocation aimed at China, to which the island rightfully belongs, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday at the Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Moscow.
“Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China, and all visits to Taiwan by top [foreign] officials are perceived as a provocation,” Putin said, answering a question during the nearly four-hour session.
“Why was it necessary to drag this granny to Taiwan, to provoke China into some kind of retaliatory action, at a time when they [the US] cannot sort out relations with Russia due to what’s happening in Ukraine?” the Russian president said.
“It’s just total nonsense,” Putin added. “There’s nothing to it, no deeper idea, just total nonsense, arrogance and a sense of impunity.”
Though Putin did not mention Pelosi by name, it was clear he was referring to the 82-year-old California Democrat. She landed in Taipei in early August, defying weeks of warnings from Beijing that such an action would be taken as an insult, provocation and an outright hostile act.
China had even pointed out that the last time a US House speaker visited the island – Newt Gingrich in 1994 – he was acting as the opposition leader, while Pelosi represented the current majority in Washington.
Such actions are a provocation “contrary to common sense,” serving only to spoil relations between Washington and Beijing, Putin said at Valdai. During the session, he also accused the US of using the talk of human rights – and their alleged violation – as an instrument of “bad faith competition” and a weapon to fight China.
Though internationally recognized as Chinese territory, Taiwan has been ruled since 1949 by the nationalists who fled the mainland after losing the Chinese civil war.
The Russian president spoke at the annual event of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual international event conceived in 2004 as a platform for floating ideas that Russia considers important to discuss with other global players.