US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday praised Taiwan as tensions continue to grow over China’s threat to the island nation. Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan angered Beijing leading to unprecedented military drills by China.
Pelosi said that her trip through Asia was never about changing the regional status quo. The 82-year-old made a brief and unannounced stop in Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers its own. Beijing held live-fire drills in waters around Taiwan, with five missiles landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone(EEZ) in retaliation.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was the highest-level visit by a US official in 25 years.
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“We have said from the start that our representation here is not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region,” she told a news conference after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
“The Chinese government is not pleased that our friendship with Taiwan is a strong one,” she added, according to Reuters.
“It is bipartisan in the House and in the Senate, overwhelming support for peace and the status quo in Taiwan.”
China condemned Pelosi’s trip, which took the delegation to Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea as well as Taiwan and Japan. Beijing’s foreign ministry announced sanctions against Pelosi on Friday.
The ministry said Pelosi was “seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs and seriously undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” with the visit. Beijing would “impose sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family,” the statement read.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that China’s military drills around Taiwan is a disproportionate and unjustified escalation.
“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response,” Blinken told a news conference on the sidelines of an ASEAN meeting, adding, “now, they’ve taken dangerous acts to a new level.”
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Blinken is in Cambodia meeting counterparts from Southeast Asian and 27 other countries, including China, Japan, Britain, the European Union, and India.