China has reacted angrily to US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, raising tensions between the two superpowers.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the trip a ‘complete farce’ and repeated the oft-used phrase in Chinese diplomacy that ‘those who play with fire are destroyed by it.’
Chinese Premier Xi Jinping used the same expression in a phone call to US President Joe Biden last week.
Earlier on Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry criticized Pelosi for “shamelessly” pushing ahead with the trip, which was still unconfirmed as of late Monday, claiming it “maliciously infringed on China’s sovereignty and was clearly engaged in political provocation.”
The statement said, “It proves once again that some US politicians have become ‘troublemakers’ in China-US relations.”
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has threatened to take ‘criminal punitive measures’ against Taiwanese supporters of independence.
And on Tuesday night, after Pelosi’s arrival, the Chinese vice foreign minister protested the visit by summoning the US ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns.
Pelosi’s visit represents the first by a high-ranking elected member of the US government in 25 years and has angered Beijing, who see it as a violation of a China policy the US is committed to upholding.
China has reacted angrily to US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, which has escalated tensions between the two superpowers (Picture: Chinese Premier Xi Jinping)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (pictured) called the trip a ‘complete farce’ and repeated the much-used phrase in Chinese diplomacy that ‘those who play with fire are destroyed by it’.
Pelosi’s visit represents the first visit by a high-ranking elected member of the US government in 25 years and has angered Beijing because it sees it as a violation of the one China policy the US has pursued.
Nancy Pelosi is pictured with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during a meeting in Taipei on Wednesday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Air Force plane – with its distinctive blue and white livery and an American flag on the tail – touched down in Taipei at 10.45pm local time.
Taipei upset Beijing by lighting up its Taipei 101 building with welcome message to Nancy Pelosi
The message read: ‘Welcome to TW Speaker Pelosi, Thank you TW Heart America’
Under the policy, the United States defers to Beijing and does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state, although it provides much informal diplomatic and military support to an agreement that has maintained peace for decades.
China’s Ministry of Defense claimed that Pelosi’s presence in Taipei was a ‘wrong move’ that had ‘maliciously provoked and created a crisis’ and was a ‘serious violation of the one-China principle’.
They said the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was on “high alert” and vowed to take “targeted military action” to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
As part of those operations, China sent 21 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone last night, according to Taipei.
Beijing has also boasted of sending its elite J-20 stealth fighter jets to the tiny island nation.
Beijing’s warplanes sent the warning shortly after the arrival of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taipei, after buzzing over the Taiwan Strait, a 100-mile-wide stretch of water that separates the two nations.
Chinese media confirmed its J-20 stealth jets had been taken to the skies around the island, and two of Beijing’s warships – a destroyer and a frigate – were in the sea to the east.
Nancy Pelosi holds a bouquet of flowers gifted to her by Taiwanese legislators.
Pelosi, the first female speaker of the US House of Representatives, celebrated her meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, saying it showed the US would not abandon its commitment to the island.
The missile strike across the Taiwan Strait would be the first such action since 1995, the last time there were deep concerns about the possibility of war.
Photos posted on Chinese social network Weibo on Tuesday showed tanks massing on the coast of Fujian, the island’s closest point to mainland China.
Columns of armored vehicles were also seen moving through the nearby city of Xiamen, and a video posted on state media sites earlier this week showed Chinese military hardware and urged troops to ‘get ready to fight in command, bury all incoming enemies’.
Later this week, China will surround Taiwan and effectively blockade the island in a calculated escalation with a major military exercise looking for ways to express its displeasure with the island and punish it without starting a military confrontation with the US.
Beijing’s fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter jet is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world (pictured from the September 2021 airshow). They are said to have been sent to Taiwan tonight
Taiwan’s defense ministry posted pictures of Chinese planes violating its defense zone
China is carrying out six-day military exercises around Taiwan that will cross into its territorial waters in what Taipei says is a serious violation of international norms.
The four-day exercise, which will begin on Thursday and run through Sunday, will take place at six locations around Taiwan – three of which reach into the island’s territorial waters in what Taipei says is a serious violation of international norms.
Shipping and air traffic in those areas will be shut down in what amounts to an effective blockade, as experts say Beijing is practicing its ability to cut off the island from the outside world in the event of war.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense responded by saying the island will resolutely defend its security, resist any moves that violate territorial sovereignty, and raise its alert level with the principle of not asking for war.
During Pelosi’s much-anticipated visit to the island democracy, she has met with Taiwan’s female president, Tsai Ing-wen – a controversial visit she said shows the US ‘will not abandon its commitment’ to the island.
Democrats specifically called out China for abuse, whose leaders warned against travel Pushing Taiwan into a ‘catastrophic abyss’, telling reporters: ‘When people came, they didn’t say anything.’
His comments refer to a surprise one-day visit by a bipartisan congressional delegation in April 2021. Senators were also in the group. Lindsey Graham, Bob Menendez, Richard Burr, Ben Sasse and Rob Portman, as well as Rep. Ronny Jackson.
Pelosi, as a junior congresswoman just two years into her career, was vocal about the June 4, 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Representatives Ben Jones, Pelosi and John Miller are seen carrying a banner for those who died for democracy in China in 1991.
Pelosi criticized Beijing for barring Taiwan from ‘attending and going to any meetings’ but noted that the government ‘will not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan’.
He also praised self-governing Taiwan as ‘one of the freest societies in the world’ in his speech to parliament in Taipei.
Mrs. Pelosi’s visit comes amid fears that China could attack self-ruled Taiwan to unify the island with the mainland.
The US does not maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, as does the UK, but it is seen as a bulwark against China’s influence in Asia and Joe Biden has vowed to defend it.
In a statement issued moments after she landed, Mrs Pelosi said the visit was to ‘honor America’s unwavering commitment to support Taiwan’s vibrant democracy’.
The 82-year-old speaker said the Asia tour, which included stops in Singapore, South Korea and Japan, was ‘focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance’ rather than changing US policy.