Pelosi Taiwan visit – live: Russia says tensions not to be ‘underestimated’ as G7 slams China’s response

Nancy Pelosi sends ‘unequivocal message’ that ‘America stands with Taiwan’

US House speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan on a US Air Force jet on Wednesday evening, concluding a historic and high-stakes visit that drew a slew of responses from China.

Beijing warned of “punishing” those who offend it, while Chinese state media called the speaker’s trip an “opening salvo of war”.

China says it will hold almost a week of military exercises that include live-fire drills in six zones surrounding Taiwan, which the island has dubbed a “blockade”. Earlier, it imposed trade restrictions on some food items and construction materials.

Meanwhile, Russia backed China’s assertion that the trip was a deliberate attempt by Washington to irritate Beijing, while a Kremlin spokesperson said that the tension created from Ms Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan “should not be underestimated”.”

Ms Pelosi was awarded Taiwan’s highest civilian award during her meeting with the Taiwanese president earlier today, where she reaffirmed US support for democracy on the contested island.

“We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” Ms Pelosi said in an address.

1659542667

Video: Nancy Pelosi sends ‘unequivocal message’ that ‘America stands with Taiwan’

Before taking off for Seoul on Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi vowed solidarity with Taiwan, while China lambasted the House speaker’s trip and launched military drills in response.

“Our delegation came here to send an unequivocal message: America stands with Taiwan,” Ms Pelosi said during a news conference after meeting with the island’s president.

Watch the full clip below:

Nancy Pelosi sends ‘unequivocal message’ that ‘America stands with Taiwan’

1659541568

Pelosi: China ‘cannot prevent world leaders’ from travelling to Taiwan

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released an official statement Wednesday as her unannounced trip to Taiwan officially came to a close.

In her remarks, the Democratic lawmaker once again echoed earlier comments made about the self-governing island, emphasising how the trip should be viewed as a statement that “America stands with Taiwan”.

“We came to Taiwan to listen to, learn from and show our support for the people of Taiwan, who have built a thriving Democracy that stands as one of the freest and most open in the world,” the speaker began.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at reacts to Chen Chu, the President of the Control Yuan and Chair of the National Human Rights Commission, during a visit to a human rights museum in Taipei, Taiwan

(AP)

She then listed the security, economic and governing priorities the delegation discussed with their Taiwanese counterparts, before turning to more controversy-stirring matters.

“Sadly, Taiwan has been prevented from participating in global meetings, most recently the World Health Organization, because of objections by the Chinese Communist Party,” the speaker wrote. “While they may prevent Taiwan from sending its leaders to global forums, they cannot prevent world leaders or anyone from traveling to Taiwan to pay respect to its flourishing Democracy, to highlight its many successes and to reaffirm our commitment to continued collaboration.”

Read the full statement here.

1659540968

G7 calls on China not to ‘unilaterally change the status quo by force in region’

The G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union released a joint statement on Wednesday in response to China’s recently announced threats following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

The group of foreign ministers specifically cited the PRC’s scheduling of “live-fire exercises and economic coercion” as risking “unnecessary escalation” in the Taiwan Strait, adding that “there is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity”.

“It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally. The PRC’s escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region,” the group wrote.

“We call on the PRC not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region, and to resolve cross-Strait differences by peaceful means. There is no change in the respective one China policies, where applicable, and basic positions on Taiwan of the G7 members.”

The group also called on all involved parties to “exercise restraint” and keep an open line of communication in order to prevent any misunderstandings.

Read the full statement here.

1659539348

China’s foreign ministry calls US democracy ‘nothing but a robe with lice crawling all over it’

China’s Foreign Ministry slammed Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Wednesday, labelling it a “provocation” and “infringement” of China’s sovereignty.

“The kind of democracy referred to by Pelosi is like nothing but a robe with lice crawling all over it. It may look opulent from a distance, but not really so when you look at it close up,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying in a video released on the ministry’s main Twitter account Wednesday.

“Her dangerous provocation is only about fishing for political capital and in this ugly stunt, democracy has been reduced by the United States to a tool and a pretext. It is Speaker Pelosi who is playing to the gallery but it is the China-US relationship and the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait that are suffering,” the spokesperson added.

The foreign ministry went on to cite recent incidents in the US — the death of George Floyd, the 1m deaths from Covid-19, and the Uvalde mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 students and two teachers dead — as so-called proof of “the hypocrisy and cold-bloodedness of democracy”.

1659538094

Taiwan’s defence ministry says 27 Chinese military planes detected in air defence zone

Taiwan’s defence ministry tweeted on Wednesday shortly after Nancy Pelosi’s plane headed for Seoul, where she’s expected to arrive late in the day, took off stating that 27 Chinese PLA aircrafts arrived in the area.

The Ministry of National Defense tweeted in the evening on Wednesday Taiwan time that 27 aircrafts, which included models J-11*6, J-16*5 and SU-30*16, were detected flying over the self-governing island’s air defence zone on 3 August.

1659537183

Pelosi’s visit symbolises US support for Tibet, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, says rights group

Lauding US speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) has said the trip symbolises a tougher stance against China.

The international advocacy group, set up last year amid the crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, said in a statement to The Independent that it fully supports Ms Pelosi’s decision to visit Taiwan and applauded her courage in facing such threats, adding that China must bear the consequences of any escalation of tension.

“The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong supports the visit to Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, by Speaker Pelosi and strongly welcomes the support from Republican senators willing to stand up against the threats by China,” it said.

“This visit is more than just about Taiwan. It also shows continued US support for the people of Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Such support is vital as we need the US to take a tougher stance against China and its increasingly belligerent behaviour at home and abroad.”

1659534903

Video: Russia says Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was deliberate attempt to provoke China

Sergei Lavrov says Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was deliberate attempt to provoke China

1659533703

Striving for de-escalation in Taiwan Strait, says German foreign ministry

Germany is striving for a de-escalation in the Taiwan Strait with international partners, said a German foreign ministry spokesperson, who added that military threats were unacceptable.

Germany retains close relations with Taiwan, which is an important partner, said the spokesperson at a regular government news conference in the evening.

Germany’s government supports a clear “One China” policy like the United States, added a government spokesperson.

1659532503

Video: China says military exercise in response to Pelosi’s visit is an act of ‘self-defence’

China says military exercise is ‘self-defence’ act in response to Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan

1659531303

Pakistan backs China, saying Pelosi’s Taiwan visit will have ‘serious implications’

After Russia and North Korea, Pakistan has put its weight behind China’s stance over Nancy Pelosi’s visit, warning that the move will have “serious implications for regional peace and stability”.

Affirming that it supported “China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Islamabad said the world cannot afford another crisis.

“Pakistan is deeply concerned over the evolving situation in the Taiwan Strait, which has serious implications for regional peace and stability,” the country said in a statement.

“The world is already reeling through a critical security situation due to the Ukraine conflict, with destabilising implications for international food and energy security. The world cannot afford another crisis that has negative consequences for global peace, security and economy.”

China has significant investments in Pakistan and Islamabad has been an all-weather ally for Beijing in recent years.