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China has reacted with fury to US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip to Taiwan that has inflamed tensions between the two superpowers.
China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, branded the trip a ‘complete farce’ and repeated the much-used phrase by Chinese diplomacy that ‘those who play with fire will perish by it.’
Last week Chinese premier Xi Jinping had used the same expression in a phone call to US President Joe Biden.
Early on Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry slammed Pelosi for ‘brazenly’ going ahead with the trip that was still unconfirmed as late as Monday, claiming it ‘maliciously infringes on China’s sovereignty and blatantly engages in political provocations.’
‘It proves once again that some US politicians have become ‘troublemakers’ of China-US relations,’ the statement said.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office weighed in, threatening ‘criminal punishment measures’ targeted at ‘die hard’ Taiwanese supporters of independence.
And late Tuesday night, after Pelosi’s arrival, the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister summoned the US Ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, to protest the visit.
China has reacted with fury to US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip to Taiwan that has inflamed tensions between the two superpowers (pictured: Chinese Premier Xi Jinping)
China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi (pictured), branded the trip a ‘complete farce’ and repeated the much-used phrase by Chinese diplomacy that ‘those who play with fire will perish by it’
Pelosi’s visit represents the first visit of a high-ranking elected member of the US government in 25 years and has infuriated Beijing as they view it as violating the one-China policy that the US has committed to following
Nancy Pelosi is pictured with Taiwanese President President Tsai Ing-wen during a meeting in Taipei on Wednesday
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Air Force plane – with its distinctive blue and white colors and American flag on the tail – touched down in Taipei at 10.45pm local time
Taipei upset Beijing by lighting up it’s Taipei 101 building with a welcome message to Nancy Pelosi
The message read: ‘Speaker Pelosi welcome to TW, Thank you TW heart US’
Pelosi’s visit represents the first visit of a high-ranking elected member of the US government in 25 years and has infuriated Beijing as they view it as violating the one-China policy that the US has committed to following.
Under the policy, the US defers to Beijing and does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state, although it provides plenty of unofficial diplomatic and military support in a compromise that has kept the peace for decades.
The Chinese Defense Ministry claimed that Pelosi’s presence in Taipei ‘the wrong move’ that has ‘maliciously provoked and created the crisis’ and ‘seriously violated the one-China principle’
They said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is on ‘high alert’, promising ‘targeted military operations’ to safeguard ‘China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.’
As part of those operations, China sent 21 military planes into Taiwan’s air defense zone last night, Taipei claimed.
Beijing boasted that it had also dispatched its elite J-20 stealth fighter jets toward the tiny island nation.
Beijing’s fighter planes had earlier sent a warning as they buzzed the Taiwan Strait, the 100 mile-wide strip of water that separates the two nations, in the immediate aftermath of House of Representative speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei.
Chinese media confirmed its J-20 stealth jets had taken to the skies around the island, and two of Beijing’s warships – a destroyer and a frigate – are in the seas to the east.
Nancy Pelosi hold a bouquet of flowers seemingly gifted to her by Taiwanese legislators
Pelosi, the first woman speaker of the US House of Representatives, celebrated her Wednesday meeting with Taiwan’s female president Tsai Ing-wen, saying it shows the US ‘will not abandon its commitment’ to the island
The firing of missiles into the Taiwan Strait would be the first such act since 1995, the last time there was deep concern about the possibility of all-out war.
Pictures posted on Chinese social network Weibo on Tuesday appeared to show tanks amassing on the coast of Fujian, the closest point on mainland China to the island.
Columns of armored vehicles were also seen moving through the nearby city of Xiamen, and a video posted on state media sites earlier this week showed off Chinese military hardware and urged troops to ‘be ready to fight upon command, bury all incoming enemies’.
Later this week China will surround Taiwan and effectively blockade the island with massive military drills in calculated escalations as it searches for ways to express its displeasure and punish the island without triggering a military confrontation with the US.
Beijing’s fifth generation J-20 stealth fighter jet is among the most advanced in the world (picture from September 2021 airshow). They were reportedly sent toward Taiwan tonight
The Taiwanese defense ministry posted images of Chinese planes violating its defense zone
China is holding six days of military drills around Taiwan that will cross into its territorial waters in what Taipei has called a serious breach of international norms
Four days of drills will commence on Thursday and last until Sunday, taking place in six locations around Taiwan – three of which cross into the island’s territorial waters in what Taipei called a serious breach of international norms.
Shipping and air traffic will be closed down in those areas in what amounts to an effective blockade, as experts say Beijing is rehearsing its ability to cut the island off from the outside world in the event of a war.
Taiwan’s defense ministry responded by saying the island will firmly defend its security, counter any move that violates territorial sovereignty and enhance its alertness level with the principle of not asking for war.
During Pelosi’s much-anticipated visit to the island democracy, she has met with Taiwan’s female president Tsai Ing-wen – who she told that the controversial visit shows the US ‘will not abandon its commitment’ to the island.
The Democrat specifically called out China on misogyny, whose leaders warned the trip was pushing Taiwan into a ‘disastrous abyss,’ by telling reporters: ‘They didn’t say anything when the men came.’
Her remark referred to the surprise one-day visit made by bipartisan congressional delegation in April 2021. The group included Senators Lindsey Graham, Bob Menendez, Richard Burr, Ben Sasse and Rob Portman, as well as Rep. Ronny Jackson.
Pelosi, as a junior congresswoman just two years into her career, was highly vocal about the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-Democracy demonstrators in Beijing. Reps. Ben Jones, Pelosi and John Miller are seen in 1991 holding a banner with the words To those who died for democracy in China
Pelosi criticized Beijing for preventing Taiwan from ‘participating and going to certain meetings’ but noted the government would ‘not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan.’
She also hailed self-ruled Taiwan as ‘one of the freest societies in the world’ in her speech to the parliament in Taipei.
Mrs Pelosi’s visit comes amid fears that China could invade self-ruled Taiwan in order to unify the island with the mainland.
The US, like the UK, does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it is seen as a bulwark against China’s influence in Asia and Joe Biden has vowed to defend it.
In a statement released moments after she landed, Mrs Pelosi said the visit was to ‘honor America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy’.
The speaker, 82, said the trip to Asia, which includes stops in Singapore, South Korea and Japan, was ‘focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance’ rather than changing US policy.