Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrived in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday night local time, defying the Biden administration and China’s warnings not to go.
The visit marks the first time in 25 years that a member of her stature has gone to Taiwan. In 1997, then-GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich (GA) made a trip to Taiwan.
Pelosi praised the trip, saying that it “honors America’s unshakable commitment to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”
“Our talks with Taiwan’s leadership will center on reaffirming our commitment to our partner and promoting our common goals, such as promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific area. The world faces an irreversible choice between autocracy and democracy, so America’s support for the 23 million people of Taiwan is more vital than ever before.”
The Biden administration opposed her visit due to concerns that it would exacerbate China’s distrust of the United States at a time when the country is dealing with record inflation, supply-chain disruptions, and an environmentally friendly energy strategy, all of which it wants to work on with China ahead of the midterms.
Pelosi initially intended to go in April, but she postponed it after catching Chinese coronavirus – a disease the Taiwanese government tried to notify the WHO about in Dec. 2019 but was ignored. She traveled with a group of Democratic lawmakers, even though she had invited at least one GOP member, Rep. Michael McCaul (TX), but he declined to attend.
The trip resulted in a furious response from Beijing, which threatened retaliation. Chinese propagandist Hu Xijin threatened to shoot down her plane on Twitter, which he then erased after Twitter locked his account.
Pelosi was urged by several Republicans to go on the trip and refuse Biden’s demand that she not attend, or let Beijing block official American travel.
Pelosi’s trip to China caps a political career as an opponent of the Chinese Communist Party, but it may help her forget about a slew of bad press since her husband Paul Pelosi was nabbed for drunk driving and his stock purchases appeared to be timed with congressional action.