Having landed in Taiwan amid soaring tensions with China’s military, the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, defended her controversial trip to the self-ruling island, saying she was making clear that American leaders “never give in to autocrats” in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, The Guardian reported.
“We cannot stand by as (China) proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself,” said Pelosi’s piece, published just as the veteran California congresswoman’s plane touched down on Tuesday.
“Indeed, we take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”
Given that Pelosi’s trip presents a serious diplomatic headache for US President Joe Biden, there had been much speculation about the motivations behind the controversial visit. In her op-ed Pelosi struck a hard line against China’s position that her trip was a provocation and placed it in the context of a broader global struggle over political freedom.
In the article Pelosi said: “We take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy. As Russia wages its premeditated, illegal war against Ukraine, killing thousands of innocents — even children — it is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats,” The Guardian reported.
China has branded a landmark visit to Taiwan by US Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “extremely dangerous”, BBC reported.
It accused Pelosi, the most senior US politician in 25 years to visit the island China claims as its own, of “playing with fire”.
“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Beijing warned in a statement, the BBC reported.
Pelosi said her visit “honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy” and did not contradict US policy.
As her plane touched down, Chinese state media reported that its military jets were crossing the Taiwan strait. Taiwan has denied any such action happened.
China – which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province which will one day reunite with it – has previously warned that its armed forces “will not stand idly by”.
In her statement, Pelosi said: “America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”
In an article published in the Washington Post newspaper at the same time, Pelosi also wrote that Taiwan’s “robust democracy… is under threat”…
“In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom,” she said.