U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night, becoming the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island that is claimed by China in 25 years.
Pelosi’s visit has triggered increased tensions between China and the United States. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, to be annexed by force if necessary, and views visits by foreign government officials as recognition of the island’s sovereignty.
China had warned of “resolute and strong measures” if Pelosi went ahead with the trip. The Biden administration did not explicitly urge her to call it off, while seeking to assure Beijing it would not signal any change in U.S. policy on Taiwan.
Pelosi is on an Asian tour this week that is being closely watched to see if she will defy China’s warnings against visiting the island republic, a close U.S. ally.
China has vowed to retaliate if Pelosi becomes the highest U.S. elected official to visit Taiwan in more than 25 years, but has given no details. Speculation has centered on threatening military exercises and possible incursions by Chinese planes and ships into areas under Taiwanese control.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Washington’s betrayal “on the Taiwan issue is bankrupting its national credibility.”
“Some American politicians are playing with fire on the issue of Taiwan,” Wang said in a statement. “This will definitely not have a good outcome … the exposure of America’s bullying face again shows it as the world’s biggest saboteur of peace.”