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Following Trip, Nancy Pelosi Offers Support To Taiwan Despite Threats, Criticism

Following a trip to Taiwan that made her the first U.S. Speaker to visit the country in more than 25 years, Nancy Pelosi voiced her and her delegation’s continued support despite the trip heightening tensions between China and the U.S.

While Pelosi didn’t state the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily, it’s “committed to the security of Taiwan, in order to have Taiwan be able to most effectively defend themselves.” Pelosi also brushed off threats from Beijing, explaining they will not stand in the way of people visiting the self-governing nation.

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Pelosi arrived in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei late Tuesday and was greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, amongst other Taiwan and American officials. Among Pelosi’s delegation include Reps. Gregory Meeks, Andy Kim, Mark Takano, and Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Pelosi explained America’s solidarity with Taiwain is more important than ever as the world faces a choice “between democracy and autocracy.”

“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”

While members of Congress have visited Taiwan in recent years, Pelosi’s high standing in the government has added further fuel to a conflict centered around China’s belief it controls Taiwan as its territory while discouraging Taiwanese foreign relations with other countries.

Pelosi went deeper into China’s grip on Tawainese global relations. “Sadly, Taiwan has been prevented from participating in global meetings, most recently the World Health Organization, because of objections by the Chinese Communist Party,” she stated.

In response to Pelosi’s visit, China announced military exercises around the island and in Taiwan waters that sit 12 miles from the shore. Not only will they disrupt supply and airplane routes, but some of those exercises are also set to include live fire, which experts explained can sometimes be seen as an act of war.

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The People’s Liberation Army air force flew 21 airplanes toward Taiwan the night of Pelosi’s arrival, while an additional 27 crafts were flown Wednesday night. “Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai stated in regards to Bejing’s intimidation.

“We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy.”

Despite Pelosi’s expressed commitment, the U.S. will continue to abide by the long-standing “one-China policy,” which maintains that Taiwan is a part of China. However, the policy also allows unofficial relations with Taipei.

Though having cautioned against the notable visit, the Biden Administration stated Pelosi’s trip — and Tawainese comments — are consistent with U.S. policies, while China will now be watched carefully after Pelosi’s visit.

For the U.S., the China-Taiwan tensions are just one of several continuing global conflicts the country finds itself in the heart of. Russia’s defense ministry claimed the U.S. is “directly involved” in the Ukraine conflict due to American spies coordinating and approving Ukraine missile strikes.

Following stops at Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, Pelosi then flew to a South Korean military base Wednesday before meeting with officials and leaders in Seoul. She plans to then visit Japan as part of her Indo-Pacific region trip that is focusing on the “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance” of the region.

If China Invades Taiwan, Biden Confirms U.S. Military Would Intervene

While United States government officials already have set opinions on how to proceed in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, it appears not everyone is on the same page. On Monday, President Joe Biden stated that if such a situation developed, the U.S. would intervene military.

Biden gave his remarks during a joint press conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida when asked if the U.S. would go further to help Taiwan in an invasion than it did with Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.

“Yes. That’s the commitment we made,” Biden stated. “We agree with the One China policy. We signed on to it, and all the attendant agreements made from there, but the idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is [just not] appropriate.”

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Biden gave further thoughts on the rising tensions between the two territories, saying a conflict would dislocate the entire region, similar to how Russia’s attacks have had shockwaves throughout Europe. Biden also stated that China is “already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers they’re undertaking.”

However, the White House downplayed his statements, saying they don’t reflect a change in policy. It’s the third time in past months Biden has made a comment about Taiwan protection, only for the White House to give opposing views.

“As the President said, our policy has not changed. He reiterated our One China policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself.”

According to the One China policy, the U.S. recognizes China’s position that there is only one Chinese government and that Taiwan is a part of China, but the U.S. hasn’t recognized the country’s claim to the self-governing island. China, meanwhile, believes a reunification between Taiwan and the mainland is a necessity – one that would likely take an armed conflict to make happen.

According to administration aides speaking to CNN, several of Biden’s top administration officials were caught off caught by his remarks. Biden running off-script and giving unexpected statements has become a running occurence in recent weeks. In late April, the President said that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” causing a media stir. The White House and allies backtracked those claims afterwards.

Responding to Biden’s comments, China expressed its “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition,” noting it would not allow any external force to interfere with its internal affairs. Speaking to reporters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated that Taiwan is an “inalienable part of China’s territory.”

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“On issues touching on China’s core interests of sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no room for compromise or concession,” Wenbin said. “No one should underestimate the firm resolve, staunch will and strong ability of the Chinese people in defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

As CNN noted, the U.S. has supplied Taiwan with defensive weapons, similar to the help it has given Ukraine throughout the Russian invasion that is now in its third month. Taiwan — which consists of a population of over 23 million — would certainly need help in a conflict.

China’s armed forces dwarf any potential resistance thanks to its expected 2022 spending of 1.45 trillion yuan ($230.16 billion USD) on defense. In terms of activity duty personnel, China possesses around 2 million while Taiwan boasts just 163,000.