On Tuesday, as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi started her contentious visit to the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own, more than 20 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone, according to officials in Taipei.
Tuesday night, Pelosi arrived in Taiwan, defying a series of dire warnings and threats from China that have raised tensions between the two heavyweights of the world.
She is the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years and is second in line to the presidency. Beijing has made it clear that it views her presence as a major provocation, which has put the region on edge.Live broadcasts showed the 82-year-old congressman being welcomed by Joseph Wu at Taipei’s Songshan Airport after arriving on a US military plane.
It opposes nations having diplomatic exchanges with Taipei and works to keep Taiwan isolated on the international scene.
Chinese President Xi Jinping cautioned Washington against “playing with fire” on Taiwan during a phone discussion with US President Joe Biden last week.
Although a trip in Taiwan is reportedly opposed by the Biden administration, Pelosi is free to travel wherever she pleases, according to White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.
A flurry of military action in the area before Pelosi’s prospective visit serves as a reminder of how explosive the Taiwan issue is.