“We are proud of our enduring friendship,” Pelosi said, speaking alongside Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei on Wednesday morning local time.
“Now more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial and that is the message we bring here today,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s speech came shortly after Tsai praised the speaker’s long commitment to democracy and human rights and presented her with Taiwan’s highest civilian honor, the “Order of auspicious clouds with special large cord”.
“I look forward to displaying this award in the president’s office, or carrying it there, on Capitol Hill, as a symbol of our treasured friendship,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s visit is the first time in 25 years that a Speaker of the United States House has visited Taiwan, a self-governing island, which China claims as part of its territory.
China’s military – the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA – said it was conducting military drills from Thursday to Sunday in response to Pelosi’s visit, including joint air and sea drills and live-fire drills
Tsai on Wednesday thanked Pelosi for his visit to the self-governing island and said Taipei would do “whatever it takes” to strengthen its self-defense capacity.
“In the face of deliberately increased military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai said at the presidential office in Taipei. “We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to maintain the defense line of democracy. At the same time, we wish to cooperate and work in unity with all democracies in the world to jointly safeguard democratic values.”
Tsai said she was determined to “maintain peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait and pledged to make Taiwan a “key stabilizing force” for regional security and the development of global trade.
Earlier Wednesday, pelosi hailed Taiwan as “one of the freest societies in the world” in her first public remarks since becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years.
Pelosi and the US congressional delegation she leads also met with members of Taiwan’s parliament, exchanging pleasantries with Taiwan Vice President Tsai Chi-chang before a closed-door meeting.
“So now we look forward to our conversation about how we can work together, learn from you, and share some thoughts ourselves on how to protect the planet from the climate crisis, how to accelerate and learn from you, how you deal with the Covid crisis, how we are advancing respect for all people in our countries as we move forward,” Pelosi said. “And again, we come in friendship, we thank you for your leadership, we want the world to recognize that.”
Tsai thanked Pelosi for coming to Taiwan and providing “strong support,” saying the U.S. Congressional delegation’s visit represents “the strongest defense and consolidation of the value of democracy and freedom”.
Tuesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said 21 Chinese fighter jets made incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
The incursions were carried out by 10 J-16 fighter jets, eight J-11 fighter jets, one Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft, one Y-8 electronic intelligence aircraft and one airborne early warning and control aircraft KJ-500, the Taiwan Defense Ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.
The Taiwanese military has issued radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor activities, he added.
China frequently sends fighter jets into Taiwan’s self-proclaimed ADIZ. The highest number of incursions ever recorded took place on October 4 last year, when 56 military aircraft flew over the region on the same day.
Air Defense Identification Zones are buffer zones set up to give advance warning of arriving aircraft. They are distinct and go beyond sovereign airspace, which is defined in international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory’s coastline.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng summoned US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns late Tuesday evening local time to protest the visit, Chinese state media CCTV reported on Wednesday.
However, White House officials said Pelosi’s trip was in line with US policy towards Taiwan, while warning Beijing not to escalate in response.
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry welcomed the speaker’s visit, saying it “fully demonstrates the great importance the US Congress attaches to Taiwan.”
Pelosi, long a Chinese hawk, explained in an op-ed published shortly after her arrival on Tuesday why she chose to be the first speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, writing that the United States must support a democracy now threatened by the Chinese. Communist Party.
“We cannot sit idly by as the (Communist Party) continues to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself,” she wrote.
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