Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said her country won’t back down in the face of the Chinese military threat.
Mumbai: On Wednesday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen struck a defiant tone as she received US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with furious China preparing for major military exercises throughout the island in retaliation for the visit.
Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday despite a series of increasingly explicit warnings and threats from Beijing, which considers the island its territory and said it would view his visit as a major provocation.
China reacted quickly, warning the American ambassador in Beijing of the “extremely serious consequences” and announcing military exercises around Taiwan.
“In the face of deliberately increased military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will continue to maintain the defense line for democracy, ” Taiwan’s president said at the event with Pelosi in Taipei.
She also thanked Pelosi for taking concrete steps to support Taiwan at this critical time.
China tries to keep Taiwan isolated from the world stage and opposes countries that have official trade with Taipei.
Second in line to the presidency, Pelosi is the top US official elected to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
“Today, our delegation came to Taiwan to make it clear that we will not give up our commitment to Taiwan and that we are proud of our lasting friendship,” said the speaker at the event with Tsai. In a previous event, Pelosi said her delegation had come “to Taiwan in friendship” and “to the region in peace”.
At an earlier event, Pelosi said her delegation came “to Taiwan in friendship” and “to the region in peace.” President Joe Biden’s administration said ahead of the visit that US policy toward Taiwan remained unchanged.
This means supporting its government while granting Beijing diplomatic recognition in Taipei and opposing a formal declaration of independence by Taiwan or a violent takeover by China.
Pelosi’s visit “is of an extremely egregious nature and the consequences are extremely serious,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng told Burns, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
“China will not sit idly by.” China’s military said it was on “high alert” and would “launch a series of targeted military actions” in response to the visit.
The drills include “long-range live ammunition” in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China and straddles major shipping lanes.
Tokyo, a key U.S. ally in the region, said Wednesday it had expressed concern to China over the drills, saying the area used for the drills overlapped with Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Outside the Taiwanese parliament, 31-year-old computer programmer Frank Chen dismissed the Chinese warnings against Pelosi’s visit.
I’m not too worried about China’s intimidation, I think China will take more threatening actions and ban more Taiwanese products, but we shouldn’t be too worried.” he told AFP
There was a small group of pro-China demonstrators outside parliament as well.
“The United States uses Taiwan as a pawn in its confrontation with China, to try to drag China down so (it) can dominate the world,” Lee Kai-dee, a 71-year-old retired researcher, told AFP.
“If the United States continues to act this way, Taiwan will end up like Ukraine.”
China has vowed to annex self-ruled, democratic Taiwan one day, by force if necessary. Beijing tries to keep the island isolated on the world stage and opposes countries having official exchanges with Taipei. In a call with Biden last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Washington against “playing with fire” on Taiwan.
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