During her meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen, Mrs. Pelosi said the U.S. wouldn’t abandon its commitment to Taiwan, framing her visit as part of a broader struggle over democracy’s future.
Chinese officials, including leader Xi Jinping in a phone call with President Biden, had warned against Mrs. Pelosi’s Taiwan visit. Following her arrival in Taipei, Beijing said it is preparing live-fire military exercises this week in areas encircling the island.
“The proximity of the exercises to Taiwan could become the new norm,” said J. Michael Cole, a Taipei-based senior adviser with the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit whose board includes Republican Party heavyweights. He described it as “salami-slicing” that aims to constrain the spaces where Taiwan can operate.
Mrs. Pelosi, the most senior U.S. official to visit Taiwan in a quarter-century, framed her visit as part of a broader struggle over the future of democracy.
Beijing worries the U.S. is backing away from longstanding agreements over the status of Taiwan, which could unsettle the balance of cross-strait relations and make military conflict more likely.
China’s Foreign Ministry warned of countermeasures to come against the U.S. and Taiwan in response to the visit.
“The relevant measures will be firm, powerful and effective,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday at a daily press briefing. “The United States and Taiwan’s independence forces will continue to feel it.”
On Wednesday, China announced new bans on imports of Taiwanese citrus and other food, saying it detected pests, excessive pesticide residue and Covid-19 in recent shipments.
The most serious risks could stem from maneuvers being carried out by China’s People’s Liberation Army. The PLA said naval, aerial, strategic-missile and other forces conducted joint training on Wednesday to the north, southwest and southeast of Taiwan prior to the live-fire drills that are slated to begin Thursday. Those drills will involve the use of long-range weapons and conventional missiles.