US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lands in Taiwan despite China's threats

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A US military aircraft with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on board prepares to land at Sungshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 2, 2022.
Sam Yeh / AFPA US military aircraft with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on board prepares to land at Sungshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 2, 2022.

China closed airspace above Taiwan Strait for civilian aircraft

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday, despite China repeatedly warning Washington against her trip to Taiwan, which Beijing considers as its own territory.  

China closed airspace above Taiwan Strait for civilian aircraft. Beijing also reportedly deployed SU-37 fighter jets there. 

Nearly 445,000 people were watching Pelosi's plane enter Taiwanese airspace on the Flightradar tracking website 10 minutes before the landing. 

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Washington issued a statement stressing that the "visit to Taiwan honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant Democracy."

"Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan - and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances. The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo," the statement said.  

China in response vowed "targeted military actions," calling the United States' actions in Taiwan "extremely dangerous."

"The Chinese People's Liberation Army is on high alert and will launch a series of targeted military operations to counter this, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart external interference and 'Taiwan independence' separatist attempts," China's defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"The United States... constantly distorts, obscures and hollows out the 'One China' principle," Beijing's foreign ministry said in a statement after Pelosi's plane touched down in Taiwan.

"These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it," it added. 

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Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said "the US breach of faith on the Taiwan issue is despicable" in comments published on his ministry's website Tuesday that did not specifically mention Pelosi.

Last week, in a call with US President Joe Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping also warned that Washington was "playing with fire" on Taiwan. China claims democratic self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory threatening to use force if necessary for it to accept Chinese rule.

According to the White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, Pelosi was entitled to go where she pleased. He added that Pelosi was traveling on a military aircraft and cited US intelligence that China was preparing possible military provocations.

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