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“We come to Taiwan in friendship, peace to the region”: Pelosi

#Taiwan #friendship #peace #region #Pelosi

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday her delegation came to Taiwan in “peace to the region” after the visit infuriated Beijing and sparked a diplomatic firestorm.

She landed in Taiwan late Tuesday, defying a series of increasingly explicit warnings and threats from China, which considers Taiwan its territory and had warned it would view her visit as a major provocation.

Pelosi, the second in line for the presidency, is the highest-profile US elected official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

“We come to Taiwan in friendship, we come to the region in peace,” she said during a meeting with Tsai Chi-chang, deputy speaker of Taiwan’s parliament.

When Pelosi – who is on a tour of Asia – landed on a military plane after days of feverish speculation about her plans, Beijing reacted quickly.

Subpoenaed by China’s Foreign Ministry late Tuesday, US Ambassador Nicholas Burns warned that Washington “will pay the price.”

“The step is of an extremely outrageous nature and the consequences are extremely serious,” China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng was quoted as saying by the state news agency Xinhua.

“China will not stand idly by.”

The Chinese military said it was on “high alert” and would “launch a series of targeted military actions” in response to the visit.

It promptly announced plans for a series of military drills in waters around the island to begin on Wednesday, including “long-range live ammunition shooting” in the Taiwan Strait.

“Those who play with fire will perish,” Beijing’s Foreign Ministry added.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said more than 21 Chinese military planes flew into the island’s air defense identification zone on Tuesday — an area larger than its territorial airspace, which overlaps with part of China’s air defense zone.

China has promised to one day conquer self-governing, democratic Taiwan, by force if necessary.

It tries to keep the island isolated on the world stage and opposes countries that have official exchanges with Taipei.

In a phone call with US President Joe Biden last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Washington not to “play with fire” on Taiwan.

While the Biden administration is reportedly opposed to Pelosi’s Taiwan freeze, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said she has the right to go where she pleases.

However, the United States has said its policy on Taiwan remains unchanged.

This means support for his government while giving Beijing diplomatic recognition to Taipei and opposing a formal Taiwan declaration of independence or a violent Chinese takeover.

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#Taiwan #friendship #peace #region #Pelosi

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