[guest post by Dana]
In a Washington Post op-ed, Nancy Pelosi offered her reasons for going to Taiwan, despite warnings from China:
Thirty years ago, I traveled in a bipartisan congressional delegation to China, where, in Tiananmen Square, we unfurled a black-and-white banner that read, “To those who died for democracy in China.” Uniformed police pursued us as we left the square. Since then, Beijing’s abysmal human rights record and disregard for the rule of law continue, as President Xi Jinping tightens his grip on power.
The CCP’s brutal crackdown against Hong Kong’s political freedoms and human rights — even arresting Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen — cast the promises of “one-country, two-systems” into the dustbin. In Tibet, the CCP has long led a campaign to erase the Tibetan people’s language, culture, religion and identity. In Xinjiang, Beijing is perpetrating genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities. And throughout the mainland, the CCP continues to target and arrest activists, religious-freedom leaders and others who dare to defy the regime.
We cannot stand by as the CCP proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself.
As the Speaker arrived in Taiwan, China flexed :
Twenty-one Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Tuesday, the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taipei, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes — which included ten of its newer J-16 fighters, eight J-11 fighter jets, one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft, one Y-9 electronic warfare plane, and one Y-8 transport aircraft — entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
After her arrival late Tuesday night, China announced that the PLA will hold “targeted military operations” around the island in response. The Chinese military will hold hold live-fire drills in six areas surrounding Taiwan from August 4 to 7, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency and state-affiliated Global Times.
Chinese media indicated that the drills, which began Tuesday night, would not only involve air and maritime exercises, but also the firing of conventional missiles and long-range artillery.
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry continued to denounce Pelosi’s trip
…saying that it “seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously undermines the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations and sends a seriously wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
A separate statement issued by the Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan Affairs Office said any attempt to seek independence by Taiwan would be “shattered by the powerful force of the Chinese people.”
While President Biden has said that the U.S. would defend Taiwan if a conflict arose with China, the White House has repeatedly said, uh, no so fast there, Mr. President:
White House officials repeatedly say[ing] a longstanding policy of “strategic ambiguity” on the defense of Taiwan remains in place.
Publicly, senior White House officials have said that Ms. Pelosi’s visit does not indicate any change in official policy, and should be viewed by China as no different than any other visit to Taiwan by members of Congress.
“There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with longstanding U.S. policy into some sort of crisis or conflict, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait,” John F. Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, told reporters.
Taiwan’s tallest building and most iconic landmark, Taipei 101, lit up at 9pm tonight, welcoming @SpeakerPelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Words include “Speaker Pelosi”, “Welcome to TW”, “Thank you”, “TW ❤️ US” (1/2) pic.twitter.com/q0aFEjqGZl
— Tingting Liu 劉亭廷 (@tingtingliuTVBS) August 2, 2022
Good on Nancy Pelosi. Well done.