Pelosi: China can’t stop US officials from visiting Taiwan
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that China would not isolate Taiwan by preventing US officials from going there.
She made the remarks in Tokyo, the final leg of an Asia tour marked by a visit to Taiwan that angered China.
Pelosi, the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said Wednesday in Taipei that the United States’ commitment to democracy in the self-governing island and elsewhere “remains flawed. “
Pelosi and five other members of Congress arrived in Tokyo late on Thursday after visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan and threatens to annex it by force if necessary, called her visit to the island a provocation and on Thursday began military exercises. military battles, including missile firing, in six areas around Taiwan.
THIS IS A HOT NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s previous story follows.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that China’s military exercises against Taiwan are a “serious matter” that threatens regional peace and security after five ballistic missiles were deployed. launched as part of a landing exercise in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Kishida, speaking after breakfast with US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her congressional delegation, said the rocket launches needed to be “stopped immediately.”
China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan and threatens to annex it by force if necessary, called Pelosi’s visit earlier this week to the self-ruled island a provocation and on Thursday has begun military exercises, including missile strike training, in six areas around Taiwan, in what may be the largest since the mid-1990s.
In Taipei on Wednesday, Pelosi said America’s commitment to democracy in Taiwan and elsewhere “remains limited.” She became the first speaker of the House of Representatives to visit the island in 25 years.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said five missiles landed on Thursday in Japan’s exclusive economic zone off Hateruma, an island far south of Japan’s main islands. He said Japan opposes China, saying the missiles “threaten Japan’s national security and the lives of the Japanese people, which we strongly condemn.”
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, attending a regional meeting in Cambodia, said China’s actions are “seriously affecting peace and stability in the region and the international community, and we demanded an immediate suspension of the exercises”.
In recent years, Japan has beefed up its defenses and military presence in southwestern Japan and its outlying islands, including Okinawa, about 700 kilometers northeast of Taiwan. Many residents said they were worried their island would quickly be drawn into any conflict with Taiwan. Okinawa is home to most of the roughly 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan under a bilateral security treaty.
At early breakfast Friday, Ms. Pelosi and her congressional delegation also discussed their shared security concerns with China, North Korea and Russia, and pledged to work toward peace and stable in Taiwan, Kishida said. Pelosi will also hold talks with her Japanese counterpart, House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda.
Japan and its key ally, the United States, have been promoting new economic and security frameworks with other democracies in the Indo-Pacific and Europe in response to China’s growing influence amid rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
Days before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, a group of senior Japanese lawmakers, including former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, visited the island and discussed regional security with the President of Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen. Ishiba said Japan, while working with the United States to prevent conflict in the Indo-Pacific, wants a defense agreement with Taiwan.
On Thursday, the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations issued a statement saying there was “no reason to use the visit as an excuse for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. ” China’s “escalating response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region,” it said.
China cited displeasure over the announcement of the cancellation of last-minute talks between the foreign ministers of China and Japan on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Cambodia on Thursday.
Pelosi held talks on Thursday in South Korea, also a key US ally, which steers clear of the Taiwan issue, apparently to avoid upsetting China, focusing instead on the relationship. North Korea’s growing nuclear threat.
In recent years, South Korea has struggled to strike a balance between the United States and China as their rivalry deepens.
The Chinese military exercise that took place on Thursday involved the navy, air force and other departments and will last until Sunday. These include missile strikes on targets in the waters north and south of the island in echoes of the last major Chinese military exercises in 1995 and 1996 aimed at threatening the islands. Taiwanese leaders and voters.
Taiwan has put its military on alert and held civil defense exercises, while the US has plenty of naval assets in the region.
China also sent fighter jets towards Taiwan and blocked its imports of citrus and fish.
China considers the island a breakaway province and views visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as a recognition of its sovereignty.
The Biden and Pelosi administrations say the United States remains committed to the so-called one-China policy, which recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows informal and defense ties with Taipei. . The administration intervened but did not prevent Pelosi from visiting.
Pelosi has been a human rights advocate in China for a long time. She and other lawmakers visited Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1991 to advocate for democracy two years after the military’s bloody crackdown on protesters in the square.
As House leader, Pelosi’s trip has increased US-China tensions more than visits by other members of Congress. The last speaker of the House of Representatives to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.
China and Taiwan, which split in 1949 after a civil war, have no formal relations other than a billion-dollar business relationship.
Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea and Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.