Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has arrived in Taiwan, on a visit that has enraged China which claims the self-governing island as its own territory.
Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei late on Tuesday risks triggering a major crisis between China and the US, which does not officially recognise Taiwan as an independent state but is still required by US law to provide its government with the means to defend itself.
China had threatened “serious consequences” if Pelosi – the highest ranking US official to travel to Taiwan in 25 years – went ahead with her visit.
“The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereign security interests,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing in Beijing.
On Tuesday morning, Chinese warships and aircraft repeatedly edged into the median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to reports.
The White House on Monday warned that China’s response could include firing missiles in the Taiwan Strait, something that has not happened since the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in the mid-1990s.
Four US naval ships, including one aircraft carrier, were deployed in the waters east of Taiwan before Pelosi’s arrival.
Nancy Pelosi who has been in the US Congress for over 3 decades has been a known vocal supporter of the Taiwanese government and has also su[pported courses seen to be anti Beijing especiallly famously unfurling a banner which supported the the Pro-Democracy activists who were killed in the Tianammen Square massacre which followed the Students uprising of the smae year.
Though President Joe Biden had allegedly tried to dissaude her from visiting the Self governing Island still claimed by Beijing as a breakaway province he has no powers under US Laws to stop her from the visit which is now underway.
The last highest ranking US Official to visit Taiwan was a former Speaker Newt Gringrich in 1997.