House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reportedly landed in Taiwan. The skies and waters surrounding the small island remained quiet as American warships and Chinese warplanes are on standby. China has warned against the anticipated trip for weeks. Chinese leader Xi Jinping told President Biden in a phone call last week the U.S. is playing with fire.
Video of China’s military force shooting off missiles was released yesterday. Russia has also taken China’s side, with President Vladimir Putin called Pelosi’s trip provocative and said it would put the United States on a collision course with Beijing.
“If the U.S. insists on making the visit, China will take firm and strong measures to safeguard our national sovereignty,” Zhang Jun, permanent representative of China to the United Nations, said ahead of the trip. “Our position is firm. Our determination is firm. We will do whatever we can to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity. I hope the U.S. government officials understand that well.”
U.S. officials have called China’s rhetoric irresponsible. In a press briefing Monday, officials defended Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.
“We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side,” National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said Monday. “We have said that we do not support Taiwan independence.”
Whether it is part of a military intimidation campaign or a threat China will act on remains unclear as Rep. Pelosi continues along her trip. It is unknown when Pelosi is expected to leave Taiwan. Back in the U.S., members of Congress on both sides of the aisle stood behind Pelosi’s decision Tuesday.
“I think it’s great. We all have been to Taiwan and we should go. They are a peace loving, they’re a freedom loving country. And we do an awful lot of trade with them,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) added “She’s got the right to go over there. I was over there just a few months ago. Me and three other senators and China complained about it for about a week out all the way through the time we went over there.”