Pelosi praises Taiwan, says Asia trip shouldn’t change status quo

TOKYO, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi praised Taiwan on Friday, pledged U.S. solidarity and said her trip through Asia, which led to unprecedented military exercises by an angry China, was never intended to change the regional status quo.

Pelosi and a congressional delegation were in Japan on the final leg of an Asia trip that included a brief, unannounced stopover in Taiwan, the self-governing island Beijing considers its own – and prompted a furious Beijing to hold drills live-fire in the waters around Taiwan, with five missiles landing in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

His stop in Taiwan, the highest-level visit by a US official in 25 years, came as Tokyo, one of Washington’s closest allies, grows increasingly alarmed by the growing power of the China in the Indo-Pacific and the possibility that Beijing might take military action. against Taiwan.

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“We said from the start that our representation here was not intended to change the status quo in Taiwan or in the region,” she told a news conference after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

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

“It’s bipartisan in the House and Senate, overwhelming support for peace and the status quo in Taiwan.”

China condemned Pelosi’s trip, which took the delegation to Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea as well as Taiwan and Japan.

Its state broadcaster said the military drills, which began on Thursday – the day after Pelosi left Taiwan – and are due to end on Sunday, would be the largest China-led in the Taiwan Strait. The exercises involved live fire on the waters and in the airspace around the island.

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

Pelosi hailed Taiwan’s democracy, economic successes and – in a veiled dig at China – its human rights record, noting the support of Taiwan, the first Asian government to allow same-sex marriage, for women. LGBTQ rights.

“The fact is, I’ve said it over and over again, if we don’t stand up for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights no matter what. where in the world,” she said.

“China has contradictions – progress in terms of uplifting people, horrible things happening with regard to Uyghurs. In fact, it has been called genocide.”

Human rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against the Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang, charges China denies.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and delegation member Gregory Meeks was even more blunt.

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

“We are going to speak up and defend human rights, human dignity and the democratic process. That is the purpose of this trip.”


Earlier, Pelosi met with Kishida, who later said they would work together to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, a key shipping route – a view echoed by US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel.

“It is clear that the U.S.-Japan alliance will remain strong, side by side, to defend our interests and our values,” he said in a statement.

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

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

China has summoned Japan’s ambassador to Beijing to file solemn representations regarding its participation in the “erroneous” G7 statement, its foreign ministry said Friday.

During a visit to Japan in May, US President Joe Biden said he would be prepared to use force to defend Taiwan – a comment that appears to push the boundaries of the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” towards the island. Read more

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Kishida has also pledged to double military spending to 2% of GDP.

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

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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