Nancy Pelosi praises Taiwan during controversial visit – ‘One of the freest societies’

The Speaker of the House made the comments during her first public speech on Wednesday morning local time. Ms Pelosi is now the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in 25 years despite warnings from China of repercussions for such a visit.

The Speaker of the House opened a meeting of the US congressional delegation which she is leading with members of the Taiwanese Parliament.

Ms Pelosi greeted Taiwan’s Deputy Speaker Tsai Chi-chang before the meeting became a private event between the lawmakers.

Later on Wednesday it is expected that the Speaker of the House will meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.

Ms Pelosi said: “So now we look forward to our conversation about how we can work together, learning from you and sharing some thoughts ourselves on how to protect the planet from the climate crisis, how to accelerate and learn from you, how you address the Covid crisis, how we advance respect for all of the people in our countries as we go forward.”

She continued: “And again, we come in friendship, we thank you for your leadership, we want the world to recognize that.”

Taiwan’s Deputy Speaker gave thanks to the Speaker for her visit and for the United States providing “rock-solid support”.

He added that the visit demonstrates “the strongest defence and consolidation of the value of democracy and freedom”.

Ms Pelosi ignored calls from both China and the Biden administration about visiting Taiwan as she landed in Taipei on Tuesday.

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The People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, warned it would begin military exercises in response to her visit which led to a tweet of a map identifying six regions around Taiwan where drills would be conducted.

Officials from the White House have stated that the trip to Taiwan is in line with the US policy towards Taiwan and warned Beijing not to escalate its response.

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