House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said her visit to Taipei should serve as “a strong statement that America stands with Taiwan.”
Mrs. Pelosi, who sparked tensions with Beijing by becoming the first speaker in more than 25 years to visit the self-governed island 100 miles off of China’s mainland, departed Taiwan earlier Wednesday after a one-day stopover that included bilateral meetings with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, among other officials.
“We came to Taiwan to listen to, learn from and show our support for the people of Taiwan, who have built a thriving Democracy that stands as one of the freest and most open in the world,” the California Democrat said in a statement recapping the visit.
The speaker, who was joined by five other House Democrats on a delegation through Asia, said the lawmakers focused on Taiwan’s security, economy and governance in their meetings with officials.
Mrs. Pelosi said the lawmakers reaffirmed “Congress’ ongoing commitment to helping Taiwan defend its freedom in the face of aggression,” and lauded the recently passed Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act as a new law that will spur economic growth in both countries.
“America’s solidarity with the people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as we continue to support the defense of democracy against autocracy in the region and in the world,” the speaker said in her statement.
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In her remarks as she met with Ms. Tsai, Mrs. Pelosi pledged to maintain U.S. solidarity with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province, while preserving the “one China” policy that American leaders have maintained for decades to avoid tumult in the region.
“Our solidarity with you is more important than ever, as you defend Taiwan and their freedom,” she said.
The speaker lifted up the Taiwanese people and hailed their accomplishments while trying to limit any punishment from the mainland. Furious over the visit, China hit with cyberattacks and import restrictions as punishment for hosting a prominent U.S. leader.
“We’re not here to talk about mainland China,” she said. “We’re here to talk about Taiwan.”
She also addressed Beijing’s saber-rattling in response to her visit, suggesting China’s response is a reflection of President Xi Jinping’s “insecurities” about his own political situation.
“I think that whatever China was going to do, they will do in their own good time. What excuse they may use to do it is another thing, but you really know more about that than I do,” she said.
The speaker also said China should not stand in the way of future visits by American dignitaries but said it has been difficult to host foreign leaders in Congress, citing COVID-19 for the lack of joint sessions.
“I just hope that it’s really clear that while China has stood in the way of Taiwan participating and going to certain meetings, that they understand that they will not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan.