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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a clear message to the Chinese Communist Party Tuesday as tensions with Beijing continue to escalate during her Asian tour and trip to Taiwan.
Pelosi landed in Taipei in what she described as a visit that “honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”
“America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” she said.
The House speaker said her trip to the Indo-Pacific, which has already included stops in Singapore and Malaysia, with visits to South Korea and Japan to follow, will focus on “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance.”
Pelosi said her delegation’s visit to the island in no way contradicts the U.S.’s commitment to the one-China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the U.S.-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances.
But she added, “The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.”
In an op-ed penned by Pelosi to the Washington Post Tuesday, the speaker doubled down on her decision to visit Taipei despite repeated warnings from Beijing.
“In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom,” she wrote.
Pelosi said the Taiwan Relations Act, passed by Congress 43 years ago and signed by President Jimmy Carter, has served as “one of the most important pillars of U.S. foreign policy in the Asia Pacific.”
“It made a solemn vow by the United States to support the defense of Taiwan,” she continued. “Today, America must remember that vow. We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday asserted that a visit to Taiwan by the speaker would signify “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs” and warned it would lead to “very serious developments and consequences.”
“If she dares to go, then let us wait and see,” he threatened.
The Biden administration has maintained that Pelosi’s travel decisions are a congressional matter and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned China against escalating its aggressive actions.
China deployed warplanes and battleships to the unofficial dividing line in the Taiwan Strait ahead of Pelosi’s visit.
But the speaker went further in her op-ed and called out other aggressive action taken by the CCP in recent years.
“The CCP’s brutal crackdown against Hong Kong’s political freedoms and human rights…cast the promises of ‘one-country, two-systems’ into the dustbin,” she wrote. “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.”
Pelosi said the visit to Taiwan has been made even more significant amid Russia’s deadly war in Ukraine and as Moscow and Beijing look to bolster their alliances in the wake of Western condemnation.
“By traveling to Taiwan, we honor our commitment to democracy,” she concluded.