Pelosi lands in Taiwan, offers explanation for her visit (Update)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan today, becoming the highest ranking US figure to visit the island since Speaker Newt Gingrich visited 25 years ago.


Welcome messages to Pelosi and the US were playing on the side of Taiwan’s tallest building:

And there was a crowd of people eager to see her arrival:

Other members of the delegation include:

…House Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks of New York, Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano of California and Reps. Suzan DelBene of Washington state, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Andy Kim of New Jersey.

Back home, something like bipartisanship has broken out. A group of 26 Republican Senators including Mitch McConnell, signed a brief statement supporting her visit:


Timed to her arrival, the Washington Post published an op-ed written by Pelosi in which she spelled out the reasons for her visit.

The Taiwan Relations Act set out America’s commitment to a democratic Taiwan, providing the framework for an economic and diplomatic relationship that would quickly flourish into a key partnership. It fostered a deep friendship rooted in shared interests and values: self-determination and self-government, democracy and freedom, human dignity and human rights…

Today, America must remember that vow. We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience…

Yet, disturbingly, this vibrant, robust democracy — named one of the freest in the world by Freedom House and proudly led by a woman, President Tsai Ing-wen — is under threat.

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 CCP’s brutal crackdown against Hong Kong’s political freedoms and human rights — even arresting Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen — cast the promises of “one-country, two-systems” into the dustbin. In Tibet, the CCP has long led a campaign to erase the Tibetan people’s language, culture, religion and identity. In Xinjiang, Beijing is perpetrating genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities. And throughout the mainland, the CCP continues to target and arrest activists, religious-freedom leaders and others who dare to defy the regime.


Her piece concludes, “By traveling to Taiwan, we honor our commitment to democracy.” Naturally, that’s not a sentiment that the one-party communist mainland likes very much. Shortly after Pelosi landed China’s Foreign Minister issued their own statement:

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement after Pelosi landed, charging that her visit “has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence,'” the foreign ministry said. “China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this, and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the United States.”

The statement followed a Monday warning from China against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s visit, saying that the Chinese military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing believes its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened.

I guess we’ll see if China’s response goes beyond tough talk.

Update: Here’s the initial response.


Update: I think I’m going to do a story about the state media response but here’s one of the themes.

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