TOKYO: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on the final leg of her Asia trip that included Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, blasted China on Friday for its reaction to her visit to Taiwan.
“The Chinese have tried to isolate Taiwan,” Pelosi stated. “They tried to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us from traveling there. We will not allow them to isolate Taiwan. They are not doing our travel schedules. The Chinese government is not doing that.”
China’s response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was to launch military exercises around the island of Taiwan, but the House speaker said she was not in the business of interfering in Asian politics.
“You may be aware of what the Chinese did while we were travelling and we have said from the start that our representation here is not about changing the status quo here in Asia or changing the status quo in Taiwan,” Pelosi said. “It is about, again, the Taiwan Relations Act, U.S.-China policy, all those pieces of legislation and agreements that have established what our relationship is, to have peace in the Taiwan Straits, and to have the status quo prevail.”
Pelosi emphasized the need for “security first, then economics,” but said her trip was about mutual respect among the various countries: “In each of the countries we visited we have had very positive conversations and great respect for what they are doing in their countries with candor in how we thought each of us could do better in our countries and we are very honored to be treated so well in Asia.”
She also mentioned China’s human rights record: “I have said it again and again, that if we do not speak out about human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose our own moral authority. It begins with human rights anywhere in the world. With China, we have to find our common ground. China has some contradictions, some progress in lifting people up, some terrible things happening in terms of the Uighurs, and that has been labeled a genocide. We must work with China on issues that relate to the climate crisis and we can learn a lot from China in that regard, but we also have to work together for some decisions. We have to recognize that we have to work together in certain areas.”
Pelosi had what she called “a very impressive meeting” with Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio on Friday morning and congratulated him on his success.