Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on the final leg of his Asia tour, Pelosi said China had sought to isolate Taiwan from the international community but would not stop US officials from intervening there. to return.
“We will not allow (China) to isolate Taiwan,” she said. “They don’t make our travel schedule.”
Ahead of the visit, Beijing had warned it would take “strong action” if Pelosi went ahead, and when he left, he launched live-fire military exercises and sent missiles over Taiwan for the first time.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said as of 11 a.m. Friday that several Chinese jets and warships conducted drills around the Taiwan Strait and crossed the median line, halfway between the island and mainland China.
The Taiwanese military responded with radio warnings, aerial patrol forces, warships and land-based missile systems, the ministry said.
On Thursday, China sent 22 warplanes to Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), all crossing the median line.
A number of countries, including from the G7 group of some of the world’s largest economies, have criticized China’s drills, urging Beijing not to change the status quo in the region.
In her comments on Friday, Pelosi said the visit to Taiwan was aimed at maintaining the status quo.
“It’s about the Taiwan Relations Act, the US-China policy, all the pieces of legislation and agreements that have established what our relationship is – to have peace in the Taiwan Strait and to uphold the status quo,” she said.
Pelosi also dismissed suggestions from some critics that his visit had more to do with improving his legacy than benefiting the island, calling the claim “ridiculous”.
She highlighted Taiwan’s “free and open democracy”, its thriving economy and its relatively progressive LGBTQ rights. “It’s not about me, it’s about them,” she added. “This is Taiwan, and I’m proud to have worked over the years to show the concerns they have with mainland China.”
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday called for an immediate halt to the Chinese drills, calling them a “serious issue regarding the security of our country and its people”.
Earlier, Japan filed a formal complaint after five Chinese missiles landed in its exclusive economic zone.
Amid deteriorating relations, China canceled a scheduled meeting between Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers.
On Thursday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Deng Li summoned envoys from European countries, the EU and Japan to China to protest their statements regarding Taiwan.
The G7 statement “distorts the facts” and constitutes a “blatant political provocation”, said Deng, who accused the countries involved of interfering in China’s internal affairs.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was the first by a House Speaker in 25 years, since former President Newt Gingrich visited in 1997. His Asia tour also included stops in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea South and Japan.
Gawon Bae and Yong Xiong of CNN in Seoul, Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo, Eric Cheung in Taipei and Sam Fossum in Washington contributed to this report.