Pelosi praises Taiwan, says Asian trip was not to change the status quo

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday praised Taiwan and pledged solidarity with the United States, saying her trip through Asia, which led to unprecedented military maneuvers by an angry China, was never to change the regional status quo.

Pelosi and a congressional delegation in Japan were on the final leg of an Asian trip that included an abrupt layover on Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing considers its own — and prompted an angry Beijing to conduct live-fire drills in the waters. around Taiwan, with five missiles landing in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Its stop in Taiwan, the highest visit by a US official in 25 years, came as Tokyo, one of Washington’s closest allies, became increasingly concerned about China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific region and the possibility of Beijing’s military action. against Taiwan.

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“We have said from the beginning that our representation here is not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region,” she told a news conference after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“The Chinese government is not pleased that our friendship with Taiwan is strong,” she added.

“It is bipartisan in the House and Senate, which is overwhelming support for peace and the status quo in Taiwan,” he added.

China condemned Pelosi’s visit, during which the delegation visited Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

The state broadcaster said the military exercises, which began on Thursday – a day after Pelosi left Taiwan – and are due to end on Sunday, will be the largest that China has conducted in the Taiwan Strait. The exercises involved firing live ammunition into the waters and airspace around the island.

Japan said five of the nine missiles fired toward its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Tokyo lodged a diplomatic protest over the incident, which Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi described as “unprecedented”. Read more

Pelosi praised Taiwan’s democracy, economic successes and its human rights record, noting the support of Taiwan, the first Asian government to allow same-sex marriage, for LGBT rights.

“The truth is, I’ve said it over and over again, if we don’t talk about human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out about human rights anywhere in the world,” she said.

“China has some contradictions – some progress in terms of raising people, some horrific things happening with regard to the Uyghurs. In fact, it has been classified as a genocide.”

Human rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against the ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, charges China rejects.

Even the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, member of the delegation, Gregory Mixes, was more forthright.

“They certainly don’t want us to keep talking about what’s happening in Xinjiang (with) the Uyghurs,” he said.

“We’re going to talk and talk about human rights, human dignity and the democratic process. That’s what this trip was all about.”

Ally worried, keep the peace

Earlier, Pelosi met with Kishida, who later said that they would work together to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, a major shipping route.

Japan, whose southernmost islands are closer to Taiwan than Tokyo, has warned that Chinese intimidation of Taiwan is an escalating threat to national security. Read more

Tensions between Japan and China also escalated somewhat on Thursday when China announced that a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers, which had been scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting in Cambodia, was canceled due to its dissatisfaction with a meeting of foreign ministers of the two countries. The G7 communique urged Beijing to resolve the tension over Taiwan peacefully. Read more

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that China summoned the Japanese ambassador in Beijing to lodge stern representations over its participation in the “wrong” statement of the Group of Seven.

While visiting Japan in May, US President Joe Biden said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan – a comment that appeared to widen the boundaries of US policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward the island. Read more

Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party also pledged to double military spending to 2% of GDP.

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Additional reporting by Elaine Laiss, Mariko Katsumura and Kentaro Sugiyama; Writing by Eileen Lies; Editing by David Dolan, Stephen Coates, and Simon Cameron-Moore

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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