Pelosi praises Taiwan and says trip to Asia was not to change the status quo

TOKYO, Aug 5 (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday praised Taiwan, pledged U.S. solidarity and said her tour of Asia, which led to unprecedented military exercises by part of an angry China, it was never about changing the regional status quo.

Pelosi and a congressional delegation were in Japan on the final leg of an Asian trip that included a brief and unannounced stop in Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing considers its own, and led an enraged Beijing to hold live-fire drills in the waters. around Taiwan, with five missiles landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

His stop in Taiwan, the highest-level visit by a US official in 25 years, came as Tokyo, one of Washington’s closest allies, has grown increasingly alarmed by China’s growing power in Indo- Pacific and the possibility that Beijing may take military action. against Taiwan.

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“We have said from the beginning that our representation here is not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or in the region,” he told a news conference after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“The Chinese government is not pleased that our friendship with Taiwan is strong,” he added.

“It’s bipartisan in the House and Senate, overwhelming support for peace and the status quo in Taiwan.”

China condemned Pelosi’s trip, which took the delegation to Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea, as well as Taiwan and Japan.

Her state broadcaster said the military exercises, which began on Thursday, the day after Pelosi left Taiwan, and will end on Sunday, would be the largest ever conducted by China in the Taiwan Strait. The exercises have involved live fire in the waters and in the airspace around the island.

Japan said that five of the nine missiles fired at its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Tokyo lodged a diplomatic protest over the incident, which Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi called “unprecedented.” read more

Pelosi praised Taiwan’s democracy, economic successes and, in a veiled attack on China, its human rights record and highlighted Taiwan’s, the first Asian government to allow same-sex marriage, support for LGBTQ rights.

“The fact is, I’ve said it over and over again, if we don’t stand up for human rights in China because of business interests, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere in the world,” he said.

“China has some contradictions: some progress in terms of lifting people up, some horrible things happening in terms of the Uyghurs. In fact, it has been labeled genocide.”

Human rights groups accuse Beijing of abusing Xinjiang’s Uyghur ethnic group, charges China denies.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks was even more direct.

“Surely they don’t want us to keep talking about what’s going on in Xinjiang (with) the Uyghurs,” he said.

“We’re going to speak up and stand up for human rights, human dignity and the democratic process. That’s what this trip was about.”

Pelosi left Japan to return to the United States on Friday afternoon.

CONCERNED ALLY, KEEPING THE PEACE

Earlier, Pelosi met with Kishida, who later said they would work together to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, a key shipping lane, a view echoed by US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel.

“It is clear that the US-Japan Alliance will stand firm, shoulder to shoulder, to defend our interests and our values,” he said in a statement.

Japan, whose southernmost islands are closer to Taiwan than Tokyo, has warned that Chinese intimidation of Taiwan is a growing threat to national security. read more

Tensions between Japan and China also rose a bit on Thursday when China announced that a meeting between the two nations’ foreign ministers, due to take place on the sidelines of an ASEAN meeting in Cambodia, had been canceled due to their discontent with a G7 Statement urging Beijing to peacefully resolve the tension over Taiwan. read more

China has summoned Japan’s ambassador to Beijing to make stern representations over its involvement in the “misguided” G7 statement, its foreign ministry said on Friday.

While visiting Japan in May, US President Joe Biden said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, a comment that seemed to stretch the limits of US policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward the island. read more

Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has also pledged to double military spending to 2% of GDP.

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Additional reporting by Elaine Lies, Mariko Katsumura, and Kentaro Sugiyama; written by Elaine Lies; Edited by David Dolan, Stephen Coates and Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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