House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the US simply cannot allow China to establish a “new normal” to pressure Taiwan over the sort of military exercises and fighter-plane raids Beijing launched after visiting the self-governing island.
China announced on Wednesday that it has successfully completed its week-long military exercises that have essentially surrounded Taiwan.
Initially, the People’s Liberation Army announced the war games in the crowded Taiwan Strait from August 4-7, the day after Pelosi, the top US leader to visit Taiwan in 25 years, left Taipei after high-level meetings. Later, it continued to expand them, keeping the breakaway island at odds.
“What we’ve seen with China is they were trying to create some kind of new normal. And we just can’t let that happen,” Pelosi told a news conference on Wednesday, referring to the provocative exercises.
The Chinese military exercises involved hundreds of warplanes, dozens of naval vessels, including an aircraft carrier group with a nuclear submarine in tow, amid claims by official media that such war games will be a new normal in the busy Taiwan Strait.
Pelosi’s trip to Taipei infuriated Pelosi, who views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be forcibly reunited with the mainland if necessary.
Taiwan has accused China of using the recent exercises as an invasion exercise.
“We didn’t go there to talk about China. We went there to praise Taiwan. And we went there to show our friendship by saying, “China can’t isolate Taiwan,” Pelosi claimed Wednesday during the press conference after her trip to Asia.
“The visit made a clear statement that America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific is unwavering,” Pelosi noted.
The US has spoken with several world powers about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific against the backdrop of China’s increasing military maneuvers in the resource-rich region.
China claims almost all of the disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea. Pelosi said her bilateral discussions focused on seizing opportunities and addressing shared challenges, including maintaining democracy in the face of autocracy, promoting robust economic growth, including through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and in governance, in response to COVID-19 and climate crisis.
Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan illustrated that whatever Chinese President Xi Jinping said, the US would support its friends and allies.
Indian-American Congresswoman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who was part of the Congressional delegation to Taiwan, also attended the press conference.
He said the delegation discussed the backlog of imminent arms sales to Taiwan.
In addition to Taiwan, Pelosi’s delegation has also visited Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
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