House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday after a visit that excited US strains with China — which is answering with its biggest military drills in over 25 years in what specialists cautioned could be
“seen as a demonstration of war.”
The resistant 82-year-old California Democrat and her designation flew out of Taipei following an about 19-hour visit that was the first by a House speaker in quite a while.
Pelosi’s outing had so incensed central area China that the country’s most famous web-based entertainment stage, Weibo, crashed for around 30 minutes, affirming it was overextended as a few hashtags piled up a few billion perspectives.
“This old she-demon, she really thinks for even a moment to come!” famous blogger Xiaoyuantoutiao composed, adding that they had hit the sack “so furious I was unable to rest.”
But the online anger was nothing compared to that of the Beijing government, which views Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory and had made a series of ominous threats while making clear that the speaker’s visit would be considered a major provocation.
Even before Pelosi’s arrival, Chinese warplanes buzzed the imaginary line dividing the Taiwan Strait, with the People’s Liberation Army saying it was on high alert and would launch
“targeted military operations.”
After Pelosi landed, China announced that it would hold four days of
“necessary and just”
joint air and sea drills beginning Thursday, the largest aimed at Taiwan since 1995.
The drills would include live fire and test launches of conventional missiles, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
At least half of the six areas where the drills are planned to take place appear to infringe on Taiwanese waters, according to Arthur Zhin-Sheng Wang, a defense studies expert at Taiwan’s Central Police University.
Using live fire in a country’s territorial airspace or waters
“can possibly be seen as an act of war,”
“Such an act equals to sealing off Taiwan by air and sea … and severely violates our country’s territorial sovereignty,”
Taiwanese Capt. Jian-chang Yu said at a briefing by the National Defense Ministry.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen insisted Wednesday that the island of 23 million would not be cowed.
“Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down,”
Tsai during her meeting with Pelosi.
“We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy.”
However, Beijing’s Foreign Ministry insisted:
“In the current struggle surrounding Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, the United States are the provocateurs, China is the victim.”
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng also summoned the US ambassador in Beijing, Nicholas Burns, to lodge formal protests of Pelosi’s visit, while China banned some imports from Taiwan, including citrus fruit and fish.
Through it all, Pelosi remained defiant, saying she was there to send the
“unequivocal message: America stands with Taiwan.”
“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,”
she said in a short speech during the meeting with Tsai.
“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”
Pelosi’s delegation included Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) of the House Intelligence Committee.