Tokyo: Japan on Wednesday expressed concern about Chinese military exercises around Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s visit to the self-governed island. Pelosi, who visited Taiwan`s parliament and held a meeting with deputy speaker Tsai Chi-chang today, said, “We come in friendship to Taiwan, we come in peace for the region.” She further said that her new US legislation aimed at strengthening the American chip industry in Taiwan which will compete with China.
Addressing a press conference as quoted by Kyodo news, a top Japanese government spokesman Hiroakazu Matsuno said that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is important not only for the security of Japan but also for the world, adding “We hope issues concerning Taiwan will be resolved peacefully through dialogue.”
Shortly after Nancy Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday, 21 Chinese military aircraft flew into the southwestern part of Taiwan`s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), as confirmed by Taiwan`s Ministry of National Defence (MND). Taking to Twitter the Defence Ministry said, “21 PLA aircraft (J-11*8, J-16*10, KJ-500 AEW&C, Y-9 EW and Y-8 ELINT) entered Taiwan`s southwest ADIZ on August 2, 2022.” In response, Taiwan scrambled a combat air patrol, sent radio warnings, and deployed defence missile systems to track the Chinese military planes, the MND said.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan as part of a Congressional delegation`s tour of the Indo-Pacific region. Minutes after her aircraft landed in Taipei, the Chinese People`s Liberation Army (PLA) announced that it would hold six live-fire military drills in waters around Taiwan, scheduled to take place from Thursday to Sunday.
In response to China`s announcement of the drills, Taiwan`s Defence Ministry said that China`s plans to hold six live-fire military drills in waters around Taiwan over the next few days are an attempt to threaten Taiwan`s major ports and metropolitan areas.
Nancy Pelosi meets Taiwan`s President Tsai Ing-wen
Pelosi on Wednesday morning met with Taiwan`s President, Tsai Ing-wen and reiterated Washington`s support to the island country. She said that the US` determination to preserve Taiwan`s sovereignty is “iron-clad”, adding “America has made a bedrock promise to always stand with Taiwan. On this strong foundation, we`ve a thriving partnership grounded in self-government and self-determination focused on mutual security in the region and the world committed to economic prosperity.”
In a short speech during a meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, Pelosi said, “Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy, America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”
Thanking Pelosi for her decades of support for Taiwan, Tsai presented the speaker with a civilian honour, the Order of the Propitious Clouds, adding “Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defence for democracy.”
In a news conference, Tsai later said “Military exercises are unnecessary responses.”
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments, announced multiple military exercises around the island and issued a series of harsh statements after the delegation touched down Tuesday night in the Taiwanese capital Taipei.
Captain Jian-chang Yu at the National Defence Ministry’s media briefing on Wednesday morning said, “Such an act equals to sealing off Taiwan by air and sea…And severely violates our country’s territorial sovereignty.”
Pelosi’s trip has heightened US-China tensions more than visits by other members of Congress because of her high-level position as leader of the House of Representatives. She is the first speaker of the house to come to Taiwan in 25 years since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Notably, Pelosi is visiting a human rights museum in Taipei that details the history of the island’s martial law era later Wednesday before she departs for South Korea, the next stop on an Asia tour that also includes Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
Meanwhile, the administration of US President Joe Biden has sought to tone down the volume on the visit, insisting there’s no change in America’s longstanding “one-China policy,” which recognises Beijing but allows informal relations and defence ties with Taipei.
(With ANI/AP Inputs)