Pelosi says US support for democracy in Taiwan 'remains ironclad'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told political leaders in Taiwan on Wednesday that the United States will not “abandon our commitment” to the island.

Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday, defying warnings from Chinese officials who said consequences will arise from her visit to the island nation that China claims as part of its territory. On Wednesday, she met with Taiwanese Vice President Tsai Chi-chang and received the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon from President Tsai Ing-wen. At both events she gave remarks promoting security and economy issues and commending Taiwan’s governance.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a meeting with Taiwanese President President Tsai Ing-wen, second from right, in Taipei, Taiwan.

“We come in friendship to Taiwan. We come in peace for the region,” Pelosi said in her remarks as she met with the Taiwanese vice president.

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She took the opportunity to tout the recently passed CHIPS Act in Congress, a $52 billion bill that provides subsidies to domestic manufacturers of semiconductors. The legislation is meant to help the United States compete with China’s manufacturing capabilities, and Pelosi noted that it may benefit Taiwan.

“We think [CHIPS] offers great — greater opportunity for U.S.-Taiwan economic cooperation,” she said.

The speaker also commended Taiwan “for being one of the freest societies in the world,” and for its “success in addressing the COVID issue, which is a health issue, a security issue an economic issue and a governance issue.”

During her meeting with the vice president, Pelosi also brought up her 1991 visit to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where two years earlier, protests were brutally put down by Chinese Communist Party forces. Pelosi and other members the 1991 congressional delegation unfurled a small banner in Tiananmen Square that read, “For those who died for democracy in China.”

“It was bipartisan when we were on Tiananmen Square, and we were there specifically making the statement on human rights,” the speaker said Wednesday.

“But our visit was about human rights, was about unfair trade practices, and it was about security issues of technology, dangerous technologies being transferred to rogue countries to countries of concern. So our — over the years, it’s always been about security, economy and governance,” Pelosi added, noting similarities in the reason for her 1991 trip to mainland China and her current visit to Taiwan.

The California lawmaker also addressed Taiwan’s Parliament on Wednesday as she received one of the nation’s highest civilian awards from the president.

“Today, our delegation — which I’m very proud — came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear: We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan, and we’re proud of our enduring friendship,” Pelosi told the legislative body.

Draped in the teal sash she was awarded by Taiwan’s president, Pelosi said, “the story of Taiwan is an inspiration to all freedom-loving people — in the United States and around the world. Out of a crucible of challenge, you have forged a flourishing democracy: one of the freest in the world, proudly to be led by a woman president.”

“Now more than ever, American solidarity with Taiwan is crucial. And that is the message we are bringing here today,” she added.

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The White House has been vocal in its opposition to Taiwan’s independence from China leading up to Pelosi’s visit.

“Nothing has changed about our ‘One China Policy,’” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday. “We have repeatedly said that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We have said that we do not support Taiwan independence, and we have said that we expect cross-straight differences to be resolved by peaceful means.”

Pelosi concluded her speech to the parliament by saying that “the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy” and that “America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad.”

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