With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arriving in Taiwan on Tuesday, tensions were high. Beijing warned against her and the US “playing with fire" by visiting the breakaway region, which China claims as its own. On Tuesday, Chinese military planes briefly entered the Taiwanese air defense zone. Yesterday, Pelosi left the region after staying for about 18 hours. It was a demonstration of Pelosi’s longtime support of Taiwanese independence and her anti-mainland attitude.
During her trip, she met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and visited the human rights museum. She left Taiwan just before China is set to begin a series of military exercises against Taiwan, a show of pushback against the visit. These exercises will reportedly involve live fire and the Chinese military entering Taiwanese waters. This could be a risky move as these exercises can be seen as an act of war under the international rules of engagement, according to Arthur Zhin-Sheng Wang, a defense studies expert at Taiwan’s Central Police University. Although the US is required by law to supply weapons to Taiwan, there’s no guarantee the US would help directly defend the territory if war breaks out in the region.
“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad," Pelosi said in a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
“Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down," President Tsai said during her meeting with Pelosi. “We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy."
“This action is a solemn deterrent against the recent major escalation of the negative actions of the United States on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces seeking ‘independence,'" said Col. Shi Yi, spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command, referring to China’s military exercises in response to the recent visit.