US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on a US military plane on Tuesday night, the first visit at her level in 25 years, and the event risks pushing relations between Washington and Beijing to even lower levels. China has long claimed Taiwan as its territory.
Ms. Pelosi and her delegation disembarked from a US Air Force plane at Songshan Airport located in downtown Taipei. Welcoming the delegation were the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, Joseph Wu, and Sandra Oudkirk, the chief representative of the United States in Taiwan.
“Our congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s steadfast commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” Pelosi said shortly after landing. “The solidarity of the United States with Taiwan’s 23 million people is more important today than ever when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” she said.
Ms. Pelosi is on a tour of Asia that includes announced visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. Her Taiwan stop was not announced in advance but was widely anticipated.
Delivering the latest big blows, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that US politicians “playing with fire” on the Taiwan issue would “not have a good ending.”
On August 1, the United States said it would not be intimidated by what it called China’s “sword swinging action.”
A person familiar with Pelosi’s itinerary said most of Pelosi’s meetings, including with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, are scheduled for Wednesday. Four sources said she was scheduled to meet with a group of outspoken activists about China’s human rights record on the afternoon of August 3.
Ms. Pelosi, 82, is a close ally of US President Joe Biden, both Democrats, and Ms. Pelosi is a key figure in handling Biden’s legislative agenda in the US Congress.