Highlights

  • Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, China fumes
  • US House speaker has history of provoking China
  • China flew military jets in to Taiwan airspace

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China Vs US: why did Nancy Pelosi visit Taiwan | Explained

Pelosi portrays her high-profile trip as part of a US obligation to stand with democracies against autocratic countries, and with democratic Taiwan against China.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew into Taiwan on an Air Force passenger jet Tuesday, she became the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island. China announced military maneuvers in retaliation, even as Taiwanese officials welcomed her and she headed to her hotel.

The reason her visit ratcheted up tension between China and the United States: China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, and it views visits by foreign government officials as them recognising the island's sovereignty.

President Joe Biden has sought to calm that complaint, insisting there's no change in America's longstanding "one-China policy," which recognises Beijing but allows informal relations and defence ties with Taipei.

Pelosi portrays her high-profile trip as part of a US obligation to stand with democracies against autocratic countries, and with democratic Taiwan against China.

A look at some of the issues at play: WHY DID PELOSI GO TO TAIWAN? Pelosi has made a mission over decades of showing support for embattled democracy movements. Those include a trip in 1991 to Tiananmen Square, where she and other lawmakers unrolled a small banner supporting democracy, as frowning Chinese security officers tried to shut them down. Chinese forces had crushed a homegrown democracy movement at the same spot two years earlier.

The speaker is framing her Taiwan trip as part of a broader mission at a time when "the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy." She led a congressional delegation to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the spring, and her latest effort serves as a capstone to her years of promoting democracy abroad.

"We must stand by Taiwan," she said in an opinion piece published by The Washington Post on her arrival in Taiwan. She cited the commitment that the US made to a democratic Taiwan under a 1979 law.

Also Watch: 21 Chinese military planes fly into Taiwan as US House Speaker Pelosi visits

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