US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a meeting with the deputy speaker and members of Taiwan’s parliament in Taipei on Wednesday morning, amid fierce protests and promises of “resolute countermeasures” from Beijing.
“We come in friendship to Taiwan, we come in peace to the region,” the third most senior official in the US government told Taiwanese lawmakers, adding that she wants to increase parliamentary exchanges between Washington and Taipei.
Calling Taiwan “one of the freest societies” in the world, Pelosi announced her Congressional delegation had three main purposes and topics to discuss – security, economics and governance.
Following the brief public appearance in front of the cameras, Pelosi and other US delegation members proceeded to hold a closed-door session with the Taiwanese officials, while journalists were told to get out of the room. Later in the day, Pelosi is scheduled to meet with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen.
Pelosi is currently on a tour of the Asian region. She has visited Singapore and Malaysia and is expected to hold high-level talks in South Korea and Japan. A visit to Taiwan was not on her official itinerary ahead of the tour.
After Pelosi touched down in Taipei late on Tuesday, the Chinese foreign ministry summoned US Ambassador Nicholas Burns to lodge an official protest and warn that Washington “shall pay the price.”
In the meantime, the Chinese Defense Ministry announced a series of military exercises and live-fire drills in six large maritime areas and their air space around Taiwan.
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