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Pelosi Arrives In Taiwan, Voicing U.S. 'Solidarity' As China Fumes




PARIS, France - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday on a trip she said demonstrates American solidarity with the Chinese - claimed self - ruled island, but China condemned this first such visit in 25 years as a threat to peace and stability in Taiwan Strait.


Pelosi and the rest of her delegation disembarked from a U.S. Air Force transport plane at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei after the nighttime landing on a flight from Malaysia to begin a visit that risks pushing U.S. - Chinese relations to a new low. They were greeted by Taiwan's foreign minister, Joseph Wu, and Sandra Oudkirk, the top U.S. representative in Taiwan.


'Our congressional delegation's visit to Taiwan honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy', Pelosi said in a statement shortly after landing. 'America's solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy'.


Taiwan's President Tsai Ing - wen will meet with Pelosi, who is second in line of succession to the U.S. presidency and a long - time critic of Beijing, on Wednesday morning and then have lunch together, the presidential office said. Pelosi, travelling with six other American lawmakers, is the first U.S. House speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997.


China immediately condemned Pelosi's visit, with the foreign ministry saying it seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, 'has a severe impact on the political foundation of China - U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity'. The ministry said it lodged a strong protest with the United Stares.


Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait before her arrival. The Chinese military has been put on high alert and will launch 'targeted military operations' in response to Pelosi's visit, the defence ministry said.


The People's Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command announced that it will conduct joint air and sea drills near Taiwan starting on Tuesday night, and test - launch conventional missiles in the sea east of Taiwan.


Pelosi is on a tour of Asia that includes announced visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Her stop in Taiwan was unannounced but widely anticipated.

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