Pelosi is the first House speaker to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich’s 1997 visit, an island that China falsely claims is its territory, which has sparked China’s military to be put on high alert.
“Our Congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement issued upon her arrival. “Our visit is part of our broader trip to the Indo-Pacific — including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan — focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance.”
China’s defense ministry said it is launching “targeted military operations” in response to Pelosi’s visit to the island.
Separately, Shi Yi, a spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement, “This action is targeted at the US’s shocking recent major escalation on the Taiwan issue, and serves as a serious warning to Taiwanese independence forces or those seeking independence.”
China said the military operations would launch on August 4th in six areas that encircle the island.
The Washington Post published an op-ed from Pelosi shortly after she landed on the island, explaining her reason for going.
Pelosi noted that under the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. vowed to support defending Taiwan and that the act said that the U.S. would “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means … a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”
“Today, America must remember that vow. We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience,” Pelosi wrote. “In recent years, Beijing has dramatically intensified tensions with Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has ramped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over Taiwan’s air defense zone, leading the U.S. Defense Department to conclude that China’s army is ‘likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force.’”
“The PRC has also taken the fight into cyberspace, launching scores of attacks on Taiwan government agencies each day. At the same time, Beijing is squeezing Taiwan economically, pressuring global corporations to cut ties with the island, intimidating countries that cooperate with Taiwan, and clamping down on tourism from the PRC,” Pelosi added. “In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.”