Taiwan Prez Promises ‘Not to Back Down’; US Speaker Says America’s Solidarity with Taipei Crucial More Than Ever Now

the world’s two superpowers are rising. Pelosi, second in line to the presidency, is the most prominent elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years and Beijing has made it clear that it views her presence as a major provocation, leaving the region on edge.

Live broadcasts showed how the 82-year-old lawmaker, who flew a US military plane, was greeted by Secretary of State Joseph Wu at Songshan Airport in Taipei. “Our delegation’s visit to Taiwan is a tribute to America’s unwavering commitment to support Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” she said in a statement upon her arrival, adding that her visit “does not contradict in any way” US policy towards Taipei and Beijing.

Taiwan said the trip showed “rock-solid” support from Washington. The response from Beijing has been swift with US Ambassador Nicholas Burns being summoned by the State Department late Tuesday and warning that Washington will “pay the price” for Pelosi’s visit.

Pelosi is currently on a tour of Asia and while neither she nor her office confirmed the visit to Taipei in advance, multiple US and Taiwanese media outlets reported it was on the agenda — sparking days of mounting anger from Beijing.

The Chinese military said it was “high alert” and would “launch a series of targeted military actions in response to the visit”. It promptly announced plans for a series of military exercises in the waters around the island to begin Wednesday, including long-range live ammunition firing in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said more than 21 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Tuesday — an area wider than territorial airspace that overlaps with part of China’s own air defense zone.

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