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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan: Key quotes surrounding her visit

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan: Key quotes surrounding her visit

The Taiwan visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has enraged China (Photo: Taiwan Presidential Office/AFP/Handout)

It was a whirlwind of diplomatic activity in Taiwan on Wednesday (Aug 3) with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting parliament, meeting President Tsai Ing-wen and holding a joint news conference during a controversial visit that has sparked anger from China. 

The highest-level US visit to Taiwan in 25 years has pushed rhetoric to new levels.

In response to Pelosi's visit, a furious China announced military exercises in the sea near Taiwan and launched a volley of trade curbs against the island.

Here's what was said in Taiwan and Beijing as the day unfolded:

PELOSI'S COMMENTS AT PARLIAMENT

Taiwan is one of the freest societies in the world, Pelosi said during a meeting with Tsai Chi-chang, the deputy speaker of Taiwan's parliament.

She called for more parliamentary exchanges with Taiwan, and said new US legislation aimed at strengthening the American chip industry to compete with China "offers greater opportunity for US-Taiwan economic cooperation".

"We come in friendship to Taiwan, we come in peace to the region," Pelosi added.

US SOLIDARITY WITH TAIWAN

The US will not abandon Taiwan, Pelosi said during her meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, reiterating that Washington wants the territory to always have freedom with security and will not back away from that.

“Now, more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, and that’s the message we are bringing here today," she said.

Pelosi added, however, that the US supports the status quo. "We are supporters of the status quo and the rest, and we don’t want anything to happen to Taiwan by force," she said.

TAIWAN WILL NOT BACK DOWN: TSAI

Echoing what Pelosi said, Tsai said that the island is committed to maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, adding that there was no need for China to launch military exercises in response to the visit.

"Military exercises are unnecessary responses. Taiwan has always been open to constructive dialogue, and we will work with stakeholders to bring about stability and peace in the region," she said at a joint news conference with Pelosi.

"Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will ... continue to hold the line of defence for democracy."

Tsai also thanked the US delegation for its visit.

"We are grateful for the delegations’ visit under such challenging circumstances as a demonstration of unwavering support to the people of Taiwan. The Speaker’s presence here in Taiwan serves to boost public confidence in the strength of our democracy as a foundation to our partnership with the United States," she said.

CHINESE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY CONDEMNS VISIT

China harshly criticised Pelosi's visit to Taiwan on Wednesday, saying that her actions are a clear violation of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Foreign affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying added that Pelosi's actions are by no means a defence or protection of democracy.

"China's specific countermeasures against Pelosi's visit to the Taiwan region will be resolute, forceful and effective, and relevant authorities in the US and Taiwan will constantly feel it," she said.

At the same time, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is at an ASEAN meeting in Cambodia, called Pelosi's visit to Taiwan a "complete farce".

He added that "those who play with fire will perish by it and those who offend China will be punished".

"Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen and others ride the coattails of the United States and act against the noble cause of the Chinese nation," he added.

"These perverse actions will not alter the international consensus on the one-China principle, nor the historical trend that Taiwan will return to the motherland."

"TARGETED MILITARY DRILLS"

China's military vowed on Tuesday to launch "targeted military actions" in response to Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

In a statement condemning the visit, defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the visit further escalates tensions across the Taiwan Strait, adding that China will resolutely thwart external interference and "Taiwan independence" separatist attempts.

The Eastern Theater command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army also announced that they would launch "a series of joint military operations near the Taiwan island".  

"There will be drills in the ocean and in the sky in Taiwan's northern, southwestern, and southeastern areas, as well as firing of long-distance ammunition in the Taiwan Strait and test launches of conventional missiles in the eastern waters of Taiwan island."

SUMMONING OF US AMBASSADOR

Besides preparing for a show of force, China demonstrated its outrage over Pelosi's visit to the island by summoning the US ambassador in Beijing.

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng voiced "strong protests" with Ambassador Nicholas Burns over Pelosi's visit.

According to state news agency Xinhua, Xie told Burns that Pelosi's visit "is extremely egregious in nature and the consequences are extremely serious".

He added that China "will not sit idly by".

Source: Agencies/rj
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