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Pelosi Meets with Taiwan President: Latest News | Pro Club Bd

Recognition…Ann Wang/Reuters

Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi met Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday morning to plan a series of high-level meetings that set the stage for further tensions with China.

After meeting lawmakers, Ms. Pelosi met with Ms. Tsai at the President’s office in central Taipei. Aside from pre-visit secrecy, the meeting between the two was broadcast live.

“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” Ms. Pelosi said. “America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains adamant.”

Ms Pelosi is expected to hold talks with a number of human rights leaders on Wednesday afternoon before she leaves, in what is likely to be seen as an affront in China.

The entire trip comes amid increasingly fierce warnings from China, which claims Taiwan as its sovereign territory. It has strongly condemned the spokesman’s visit and responded with plans for military exercises near Taiwan.

While the planning of the trip was kept secret, her time in Taiwan has been characterized by the carnival atmosphere. She came to a live video feed, lighted salutes atop Taipei’s tallest building, and packs of supporters and protesters outside her hotel.

The sentiment continued on Wednesday morning when Ms Pelosi arrived at Taiwan’s legislature with a police escort to meet with a handful of senior Taiwan lawmakers. On one side of the building, a group offering support held up banners welcoming them. On the other hand, a gathering of pro-China protesters held up signs calling her an “arsonist” and accusing her of interfering in China’s internal affairs.

The reaction from China was serious. Shortly after their plane landed in the capital, Taipei, Chinese diplomats said the visit “seriously undermines” China’s sovereignty and China-US relations. The Chinese Communist Party’s Bureau of Taiwan Affairs said any attempt to seek independence for Taiwan would be “crushed by the mighty strength of the Chinese people.”

Beijing quickly imposed a series of economic punitive measures, including suspending exports of natural sand to Taiwan.

And China’s military announced live-fire drills in areas that appear to be violating Taiwan’s territorial waters, with a state news agency warning ships and planes for “security reasons.”

The claims and military posturing threatened to further escalate tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy. In particular, the drills, which would hamper Taiwan’s definition of its own territorial waters, ushered in a new phase of brinkmanship, similar to a crisis in 1995 and 1996 when Taiwan held its first democratic elections.

During her stay on the island, Ms. Pelosi will also attend a banquet at the Taipei Guest House, a historic government building used for diplomatic receptions, and visit the National Human Rights Museum, which houses documents on Taiwan’s history as a democracy.

During the morning meeting with Taiwan lawmakers, Ms. Pelosi praised Taiwan’s record on handling Covid-19, human rights and climate issues, according to Lo Chih-cheng, a lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party who attended the meeting.

“Among China’s threats and warnings, your visit shows that the United States will not bow to China’s intimidation and has decided to side with Taiwan,” he said. “She decided to side with the allies of democracy.”

Some in Taiwan said they were concerned about what China might do after Ms Pelosi left. The announced military exercises should essentially take place from Thursday to Sunday.

Although analysts said the drills appeared to be a signals exercise to project strength at home and abroad, they warned an accidental encounter could spiral out of control in the fast-moving situation. The military drills could effectively temporarily block access to some commercial shipping lanes and Taiwan ports, analysts said.

It is also unclear how the US military would react to the tests. During the crisis 26 years ago, the US sailed through the Taiwan Strait with an aircraft carrier group. In recent months, China has made staunch statements that it controls the waters, some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, creating a potential standoff if the United States were to sail warships through them.

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