Pelosi explains why she flew to Taiwan

Nancy Pelosi, Member of the House of Representatives from California, Democrat, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

About 43 years ago, the United States Congress overwhelmingly passed—and President Jimmy Carter signed into law—the Taiwan Relations Act, one of the pillars of US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Taiwan Relations Ordinance stipulated America’s commitment to maintaining democracy in Taiwan and laid the foundation for economic and diplomatic ties that quickly developed into a vital partnership. It contributed to the strengthening of strong friendships based on common interests and values: self-determination and self-government, democracy and freedom, dignity of the individual and respect for human rights.

And it contains a solemn pledge by the United States to support the defense of the island and “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means … as a threat to peace and security in the Western Pacific region and a matter of grave concern to the United States.”

Today, America must remember that oath. We must support Taiwan, this island of “indomitable will.” Taiwan has become a leader in public administration: it is currently fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating sustainable use of environmental resources, and combating climate change. He leads the way in peacekeeping, security and dynamic economic development, and the whole world is jealous of his entrepreneurial spirit, innovative culture and technological achievements.

But unfortunately, this vibrant and enduring democracy, which Freedom House has called one of the freest in the world and successfully led by a woman, President Tsai Ing-wen, is under threat.

In recent years, Beijing has sharply aggravated relations with Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China has stepped up patrols with bombers, fighters and reconnaissance aircraft near and even in Taiwan air defense zone. As a result, the US Department of Defense came to the conclusion that the Chinese army is “probably preparing for a situation of forcible reunification of Taiwan with the PRC.”

The PRC has also taken the fight to cyberspace, launching dozens of attacks on Taiwanese government offices every day. At the same time, Beijing is exerting economic pressure on Taipei, calling on multinational corporations to cut off all ties with the island, intimidating those countries that cooperate with it, and oppressing tourists from China.

In the face of the increasing aggression of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the visit of a US congressional delegation should be seen as a clear statement that America supports Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.

Our visit, one of several congressional delegations to the island, does not in any way conflict with the historical one China policy pursued under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US-China Joint Communiqués, and the Six Pledges. The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.

Our visit is part of a tour of the countries of the Pacific region, including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, dedicated to mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance. In our talks with our Taiwanese partners, we will focus on reaffirming our support for the island and advancing common interests, including a free and open Indo-Pacific. America’s solidarity with Taiwan is more important today than ever, not only to the island’s 23 million residents, but to the many others who are oppressed and threatened by the PRC.

Thirty years ago, as part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation, I traveled to China, where we unfurled a black-and-white banner in Tiananmen Square that read “To Those Who Died for Democracy.” When we left the square, patrolmen followed us. Since then, Beijing’s horrendous violations of human rights and disregard for the rule of law have continued unabated, with President Xi Jinping only tightening his grip on the reins of power.

The CCP’s brutal crackdown on political freedoms and human rights in Hong Kong – including the arrest of Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen – has completely trampled on the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. In Tibet, the CCP has long campaigned to destroy the language, culture, religion and identity of the Tibetan people. In Xinjiang, Beijing is committing genocide against Uighur Muslims and other minorities. And across the mainland, the party continues to harass and detain activists, religious freedom leaders and anyone else who dares to challenge the regime.

We cannot stand by as long as the CCP continues to threaten Taiwan—and democracy itself.

Indeed, this trip is taking place against the backdrop of the world’s choice between autocracy and democracy. As Russia wages a pre-planned, illegal operation in Ukraine that kills thousands of innocent people — including children — it is important that America and our allies make it as clear as possible that we will never give in to autocrats.

When I led a congressional delegation to Kyiv in April — a high-level visit to a war-torn country — I told President Volodymyr Zelensky that we admire the way his people defend democracy, both in Ukraine and around the world.

As we travel to Taiwan, we underscore our commitment to democracy and reiterate our call for respect for the freedoms of Taiwan—and other democracies.

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