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Pelosi says US will ‘not allow’ China to isolate Taiwan

#Pelosi #China #isolate #Taiwan

Pelosi says US will ‘not allow’ China to isolate Taiwan

Tokyo (AFP) –

Tomohiro OSAKI, Katie Forster

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the United States will “not allow” China to isolate Taiwan after her visit to the self-governing island infuriated Beijing.

China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, launched its biggest-ever military drills around the island after Pelosi defied stern threats to become the highest-profile US official to set foot on Taiwanese soil in years.

Pelosi, who is now in Tokyo on the final leg of her Asia tour, did not comment directly on the drills but argued that American politicians should be able to travel to Taiwan unhindered.

“They may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or attending other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us from traveling there,” she told reporters.

“We will not allow them to isolate Taiwan,” she said, listing lower-level US visits to the island and reiterating that her trip “was not about changing the status quo in the region.”

“It’s about… all the laws and agreements that defined our relationship. Having peace across the Taiwan Straits and enforcing the status quo.”

When asked if the trip is more about her own legacy than a benefit to Taiwan, Pelosi replied, “This isn’t about me — it’s about her.”

Calling the island “one of the freest countries in the world” and “a great democracy with a thriving economy,” she said she was “proud” of her work, which highlights concerns related to mainland China, alleged trade violations and proliferation from guns to human rights.

– Ballistic Missiles –

The 82-year-old American politician arrived on Thursday from South Korea, another key US ally, where she was visiting the border with the nuclear-armed north.

It’s her first time in Japan since 2015, and on Friday morning she met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who said Japan had “demanded the immediate cancellation of military exercises.”

Tokyo said five Chinese ballistic missiles are believed to have fallen in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, four of which are believed to have passed over Taiwan’s main island.

Kishida condemned the missile launches as a “serious problem affecting our national security and the safety of our citizens.”

Parts of Japan’s southernmost region of Okinawa lie near Taiwan, as do islets that are at the center of a long-running dispute between Tokyo and Beijing.

The EEZ extends beyond the limits of Japan’s territorial waters up to 200 nautical miles from Japan’s coast.

Also in May, US President Joe Biden angered Beijing during a visit to Japan when he said US forces would defend Taiwan militarily should China attempt to take control of the island by force.

However, Biden and his team insisted at the time that their decades-old approach to Taiwan would remain.

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.

On Friday, Pelosi said the United States wants to find “common ground” with China on issues from rights to climate change.

“If we don’t stand up for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose any moral authority to speak about human rights anywhere in the world,” she said.

“Again, the point is not that our visit determines what US-China relations are like. It’s a much bigger and longer-term challenge and we have to recognize that we have to work together on certain areas.”

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