Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said Wednesday that her country “will not back down” in the face of the threat from China, which is preparing to organize dangerous military exercises near the island’s coast in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
During a meeting with Tsai in Taipei, Pelosi said she came to the region “peacefully”, stressing at the same time that the United States will not abandon its commitments to the democratic island, which lives under the constant threat of a Chinese invasion.
“Today our delegation came to Taiwan to say unequivocally that we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and that we are proud of our enduring friendship,” Pelosi said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the “serious violation” of US commitments to Beijing, which “seriously undermines regional peace and stability.”
The Chinese government summoned US Ambassador Nicholas Burns on Tuesday evening. Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng expressed his country’s “resolute protests” over the visit.
“The initiative (Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan) is very shocking and the consequences will be very serious,” he said, according to Xinhua.
For its part, China’s Defense Ministry promised “targeted military actions”, through a series of military exercises around the island starting Wednesday, including “the firing of long-range live ammunition” in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China.
China also announced on Wednesday the suspension of the import of some types of fruits and fish from Taiwan and the export of natural sand to the island, in response to the visit. China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, and trade exchange increased by 26 percent in 2021, reaching $328 billion.
In the United States, US National Security spokesman John Kirby said that Pelosi’s visit is in line with the US policy, which is to emphasize the unity of China (one China) and there is no need to turn (Pelosi’s visit) into a crisis.
China strongly condemned Nancy Pelosi’s visit, calling it a “serious violation of the one-China principle.” It warned of a “serious impact” on the political foundation of China-US relations.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Pelosi’s visit “seriously violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The ministry warned that the visit “seriously undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces on Taiwan independence.”
On Tuesday, Pelosi arrived in Taiwan, despite an attempt by US President Joe Biden to dissuade her from going to Taipei.
Pelosi said she wanted to honor America’s steadfast commitment to what she called the vibrant democracy of Taiwan.
Live fire drills
Chinese state media confirmed that the army will conduct live-fire exercises for three days, starting from Wednesday, with all ships and civilian aircraft prohibited from entering the exercise areas.
China also stopped imports from 35 Taiwanese biscuit and pastry producers, in a warning ahead of Pelosi’s visit.
Biscuits and pastries are important trade items between Taiwan and China, including Hong Kong.
About two-thirds of exports from Taiwan in 2021 were biscuits and pastries, with a total value of $646 million, Taiwan media reported.
In 2020, the value amounted to $660 million and represented 37 percent of total exports.
It is estimated that more than 100 companies in Taiwan will have to stop doing business with China after the penalty takes effect.