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Tensions flare as Pelosi touches down in Taiwan

Tensions flare as Pelosi touches down in Taiwan

A host of Chinese military aircraft has breached Taiwanese airspace amid a visit from the United States’ Speaker of the House.

A host of Chinese military aircraft has breached Taiwanese airspace amid a visit from the United States’ Speaker of the House.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan overnight for meetings with senior government and parliamentary officials, despite a stern warning from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said the visit would challenge China’s “red line” and would be met with “resolute countermeasures”.

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“The US must bear all consequences arising thereof,” he said.

Following the news of Pelosi’s visit, which forms part of a broader tour of Asia, Beijing deployed 21 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft, including eight Shenyang J-11 and 10 J-16 fighter jets.

The aircraft breached Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) — one of the largest breaches this year.

But Speaker Pelosi doubled down on the United States’ commitment to strengthening economic and security cooperation with Taiwan.

She also lauded Taiwan’s resilience amid mounting threats to its sovereignty during an address following her acceptance of an Order of Propitious Clouds with special Grand Cordon award. 

“The story of Taiwan is an inspiration to all freedom-loving people – in the United States and around the world,” Speaker Pelosi said.

“Out of a crucible of challenge, you have forged a flourishing democracy: one of the freest in the world, proudly to be led by a woman president.

“…And Taiwan has been an island of resilience in the world. Indeed, the people of Taiwan have proven to the world that – with hope, courage and determination – it is possible to build a peaceful and prosperous future, even in terms of the challenges you face.”

Speaker Pelosi went on to stress the United States’ “ironclad” determination to “preserve democracy” in Taiwan.

[Related: CCP launches tirade ahead of planned US visit to Taiwan]

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