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    As Nancy Pelosi begins Asia tour, China warns against visiting Taiwan.

    Tensions are high across the region as US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi reached Taiwan and met president Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, with Chinese warplanes flying close to the median line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

    “Today, our delegation… came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” Ms Pelosi said during her meeting with the Taiwanese president.

    Meanwhile, the Taiwanese military has increased its alertness level as Chinese warships and aircraft “squeezed” the median line on Tuesday morning. The foreign ministry condemned Ms Pelosi’s trip as “playing with fire” and confirmed they will hold live fire exercises off the coast of Taiwan.

    In an op-ed published in The Washington Post By Ms Pelosi, the speaker describes the visit as being “an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom”.

    Ms Pelosi was also offered rare praise from GOP lawmakers for visiting in defiance of Chinese warnings.

    The visit to Taiwan is the most senior by a US politician since then-House speaker Newt Gingrich went there in 1997.

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    Video: Pelosi receives Taiwan’s highest civilian order, reaffirms US support for democracy

    US House speaker Nancy Pelosi was honored with Taiwan’s highest civilian award, the Order of Propitious Clouds, given to her by the country’s president Tsai Ing-wen during the visit that has sparked escalating military tensions with China. Ms Tsai draped the blue sash over the US House speaker during a meeting broadcast live today from the presidential palace and said it “represented their [Taiwan’s] gratitude to Pelosi and the wish to continue progressing US-Taiwan relations through more cooperation.”

    Thanking the country for the honor and their “enduring friendship”, Ms Pelosi said: “America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad.”

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    Footage shows people cheering the arrival of Pelosi’s jet in Taiwan.

    A video posted by Bloomberg’s Taipei bureau chief Samson Ellis shows people in Taiwan cheering the arrival of US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s jet yesterday night with many recording the aircraft on their smartphones as it came in to land.

    Ms Pelosi arrived in “SPAR19,” a US air force-operated Boeing C-40C plane, escorted by Taiwan air force fighter jets, despite overwhelming pressure from China.

    Her jet was also the most-tracked aircraft in the world yesterday.

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    North Korea calls Pelosi’s Taiwan visit ‘impudent interference’ by the US

    North Korea has slammed Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan calling it an “impudent interference” by Washington into another nation’s internal affairs, backing China’s position in the matter.

    An unnamed spokesperson for Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said Ms Pelosi’s trip was “arousing serious concern of the international community”.

    “The current situation clearly shows that the impudent interference of the US in internal affairs of other countries and its intentional political and military provocations are, indeed, the root cause of harassed peace and security in the region,” a spokesperson for the ministry was quoted. as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

    “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China and the issue of Taiwan pertains to the internal affairs of China.”

    “We vehemently denounce any external force’s interference in the issue of Taiwan, and fully support the Chinese government’s just stand to resolutely defend the sovereignty of the country and territorial integrity,” the unnamed spokesperson added, according to the KCNA’s English-language report.

    “The US scheme to disturb the growth and development of China and its efforts for accomplishing the cause of reunification is bound to go bankrupt.”

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    China curbs trade with Taiwan following Pelosi’s visit

    China has further restricted its trade with Taiwan amid escalated tensions over US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the democratically-ruled island.

    The Chinese commerce ministry and customs department said today they are suspending exports of sand to Taiwan, a key material used in construction, and imports of Taiwanese citrus fruit and some types of fish.

    The customs unit said food imports were halted due to the presence of pesticide and the coronavirus in some shipments, while the ministry of commerce said it had suspended sand exports in line with unspecified legal provisions.

    In a separate announcement, China’s Taiwan affairs office said it would prohibit mainland Chinese companies and individuals from financial dealings with two Taiwanese foundations, the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund.

    The export curbs came after Ms Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late night yesterday amid China’s condemnation of the highest-level US visit to the island in 25 years.

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    ‘They didn’t say anything when the men came,’ says Pelosi on Chinese aggression.

    US House speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the Chinese reaction to her visit saying “they didn’t say anything when the men came,” making a reference to the visit by US senators earlier this year.

    “They made a big fuss, because I am speaker, I guess. I don’t know if that was a reason or an excuse, because they didn’t say anything when the men came,” Ms Pelosi said while speaking alongside Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei.

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    ‘We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan,’ says Pelosi.

    Speaking at an event alongside Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, US House speaker Nancy Pelosi said we will “not abandon our commitment to Taiwan” and stressed on increased cooperation between the two countries.

    “Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” she said in a short speech during a meeting with Taiwan’s president. “America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”

    “Today, our delegation… came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” Ms Pelosi said.



    Now, more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, that’s the message we bring in today.

    Nancy Pelosi

    In a press meet in Taipei, she later said that the US supports the status quo, but does not want anything to happen to Taiwan by force.

    “We want Taiwan to always have freedom with security, we are not backing away from that,” she said.

    US House of representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks next to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen

    (VIA REUTERS)

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    Chinese drills around island meant to destroy regional stability, says Taiwan defense ministry

    Taiwan’s defense ministry has said that Chinese live-fire drills around the democratic island this week demonstrated Beijing’s intention to destroy regional peace and stability.

    Taiwan has enhanced alertness levels and will react timely and appropriately to the drills, a defense ministry spokesman told reporters via a voice message.

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    Tsai thanks Pelosi for support, says Taiwan will not back down.

    Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen thanked visiting US House speaker Nancy Pelosi today for her concrete actions to support Taiwan at this critical moment and said the island will not back down in the face of heightened military threats.

    Ms Tsai also told Ms Pelosi that she is one of Taiwan’s most devoted friends and thanked her for her unwavering support on the international stage.

    She added that Taiwan is a reliable partner of the United States and will continue to work with the US to strengthen collaboration in security, economic development and supply chains.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.

    (Getty Images)

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    Why is Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan so contentious?

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the highest-level trip by a US official in 25 years, has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the US and China.

    Beijing warned the United States that it was “playing with fire” if it allowed the speaker’s visit to take place, and even Joe Biden had cautioned against it.

    So why is Ms Pelosi’s trip so controversial?

    Taiwan, a self-governing democracy of approximately 23 million off the coast of China, has become a flashpoint in the growing geopolitical struggle between Washington and Beijing.

    Taiwan has its own democratic political system, constitution, and military, and many Taiwanese consider the island to be a separate nation to China. But Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province that will eventually come under its control — by force if necessary.

    Rirchard Hall has more for The Independent.

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    Taiwan increases military alertness level

    Taiwan’s cabinet has said the military has increased its alertness level and authorities will make plans to ensure safety and stability around the island, after China announced a series of military exercises in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei.

    Taiwan’s cabinet also said its citizens should feel reassured and that a national stabilization fund for the stock market will closely watch the situation and react in a timely manner.

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