House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the United States would not allow China to establish a “new normal” of pressuring Taiwan with the kind of military exercises and warplane incursions Beijing did after visiting the self-ruled island.
China announced on Wednesday that it had “successfully completed” its week-long and unprecedented military drills that essentially encircled Taiwan.
Initially, the People’s Liberation Army announced war games in the busy Taiwan Strait from August 4 to 7, the day Pelosi, the highest-ranking US leader to visit Taiwan in 25 years, left Taipei after high-level meetings. It then continued to expand them, leaving the isolated island on Tennerhook.
“What we’ve seen with China is that they’re trying to establish a new normal. And we can’t let that happen,” Pelosi said at a news conference Wednesday, referring to the provocative drills.
The Chinese military exercises involved hundreds of warplanes, dozens of naval vessels, including an aircraft carrier group with a nuclear submarine, amid claims in state media that such war games will be the new normal in the busy Taiwan Strait.
Pelosi’s trip to Taipei angered Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary.
Taiwan has accused China of using the recent drills as practice for an attack.
“We didn’t go there to talk about China. We went there to appreciate Taiwan. And we went there to show our friendship, ‘China cannot isolate Taiwan,'” Pelosi insisted at a press conference Wednesday after her Asia trip.
“This visit made a clear statement that America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific is unwavering,” Pelosi noted.
The US and several world powers have spoken of the need to ensure a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific against the backdrop of China’s growing military presence 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 upholding democracy in the face of authoritarianism, through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and addressing shared challenges, including robust economic growth, including governance, responses to the COVID-19 and climate crises.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks told reporters that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan proves that no matter what Chinese President Xi Jinping says, the United States will stand by its friends and allies.
Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy, who was part of the Congress delegation to Taiwan, was also present at the press conference.
He said the delegation discussed the backlog of pending arms sales to Taiwan.
In addition to Taiwan, Pelosi’s delegation visited Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated feed.)