House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday despite threats from China, CNN reports.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
Pelosi and members of Congress traveling with her said in a statement that the visit "honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy."
Pelosi is traveling with Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks, Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano, Washington Rep. Suzan DelBene, Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, and New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim.
"Our discussions with Taiwan leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region," the speaker's statement said. "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."
Pelosi defends trip:
Pelosi defended the trip in a Washington Post op-ed, writing that the U.S. must stand with Taiwan “in the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s accelerating aggression.”
“Beijing has dramatically intensified tensions with Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has ramped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over Taiwan’s air defense zone, leading the U.S. Defense Department to conclude that China’s army is ‘likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force,’” Pelosi wrote.
“The PRC has also taken the fight into cyberspace, launching scores of attacks on Taiwan government agencies each day. At the same time, Beijing is squeezing Taiwan economically, pressuring global corporations to cut ties with the island, intimidating countries that cooperate with Taiwan, and clamping down on tourism from the PRC.”
China, which vowed to retaliate against a Pelosi visit, warned that the trip "has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
"It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for 'Taiwan independence,'" the foreign ministry said. "China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this, and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the United States."
The White House pushed back on China’s threats.
"There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit, consistent with long standing US policy, into some sort of crisis or conflict, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait," National Security Council Strategic Coordinator for Communications John Kirby said Monday.