US ‘will not abandon’ Taiwan, says Pelosi
Beijing, Aug 3 (EFE).- The United States “will not abandon” Taiwan, US House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday in Taipei where she met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen despite warnings from China.
“Today, our delegation (…) came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear: we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan,” Pelosi said in accepting the civilian Order of Propitious Clouds from Tsai for her support for the territory.
“The story of Taiwan is an inspiration to all freedom-loving people – in the United States and around the world. Out of a crucible of challenge, you have forged a flourishing democracy: one of the freest in the world, proudly to be led by a woman president,” she said.
The official assured that “American solidarity with Taiwan is crucial” and that her country’s determination to “preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad.”
In turn, Tsai noted Pelosi’s longterm support for Taiwan and said the courage to stand up to confrontation is “impressive and very moving,” local state news agency CNA reported. She expressed hope that Taiwan and the US “continue to strengthen cooperation.”
Tsai underscored Taiwan’s goal to “maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” and declared that her administration would make the island “a key and stable force in regional security, ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and the stability of global trade and supply chains.”
The president said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where Pelosi also traveled to in May, has made security in the Taiwan Strait another focus of the world’s attention and that if Taiwan is invaded, the security of the entire Indo-Pacific region will be severely impacted.
She said in the face of persistent and rising military threats, “Taiwan will not back down” and will defend democracy, CNA said.
The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act does not guarantee that the US will intervene militarily if the People’s Republic of China attacks the island, but it does not rule it out either.
On Tuesday morning, Pelosi also visited the island’s House of Representatives, where she met with the institution’s vice president, Tsai Chi-chang, and held a meeting with members of political parties represented in the legislature, including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition Kuomintang.
During her visit to the chamber, Pelosi noted the opportunities for economic cooperation between the sides.
Pelosi could also hold a meeting with human rights activists at Jingmei Park in the capital later in the day.
The official, who is second in the line of succession to the US presidency after Vice President Kamala Harris, is expected to leave Taiwan around 5 pm local time on Wednesday to resume her tour of Asia with stops in South Korea and Japan after those made since Monday in Singapore and Malaysia.
Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday night in an unannounced trip that has outraged the Chinese government, which is responding with a military drills in the Taiwan Strait and trade sanctions on the island.
The island’s Ministry of National Defense denounced in a statement that 21 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday and the island’s air force scrambled a combat air patrol, sent radio warnings, and deployed defense missile systems to track the planes.
Pelosi’s presence in Taiwan has further strained ties between the US and China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan and considers the trip a provocation with which the North American country violates the existing status quo on this territory, one of the main reasons for bilateral conflict.
Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its greatest military ally in the event of a possible war with China, which considers the island a rebel province and has not ruled out use of force to achieve “reunification.” EFE