Penny Wong calls for easing tensions as Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan

Foreign Secretary Penny Wong called for an easing of tensions between Beijing and Washington after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan.
Senator Wong called for calm between the two countries after the trip.

“All parties should think about how they can best contribute to reducing the current tensions, and we all want peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.

“We do have a situation where we see increased rhetoric and deployment of military hardware.”
Senator Wong said the situation is “very worrying”, especially for those living in Taiwan.
The Foreign Minister confirmed that Australia supports the one-China policy, in which Taiwan is not recognized as a country and the government in Beijing is the only Chinese government.
“Australia has a bipartisan policy towards China and we have a bipartisan policy against unilateral changes in the status quo,” she said.
“We must continue, together with others in the region, to call for the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”
Ms. Pelosi said the trip was meant to show US solidarity with the Chinese-claimed island, and it was the first such visit in 25 years.
Ms. Pelosi and her delegation disembarked from a US Air Force transport plane at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei and were greeted by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Sandra Oudkirk, a senior US official in Taiwan.

“Our Congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan is a testament to America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” Ms. Pelosi said shortly after landing.

“America’s solidarity with Taiwan’s 23 million people is more important today than ever as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”
China immediately condemned Ms. Pelosi’s visit, with the Foreign Ministry saying it seriously undermines peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, “has a serious impact on the political basis of Sino-US relations, and seriously violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The ministry said it had made a strong protest to the United States. On the Tuesday ahead of her arrival, Chinese warplanes flew over the line dividing the Taiwan Strait, and Chinese state media reported that the People’s Liberation Army of China would conduct exercises near Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday.
Ms. Pelosi, second in line to the US presidency and a longtime critic of China, has toured Asia, including scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

Her stop in Taiwan was not announced, but many were waiting for her. In a Washington Post article published shortly after her landing, Ms. Pelosi outlined the reasons for her visit, praising Taiwan’s commitment to a democratic government and criticizing China for escalating tensions with Taiwan in recent years.

“We cannot stand by while the CCP continues to threaten Taiwan and democracy itself,” Pelosi said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
Ms. Pelosi also referred to China’s “brutal crackdown” on political dissent in Hong Kong, as well as its treatment of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities, which the US government considers genocide.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier Tuesday that US politicians who “play with fire” on the Taiwan issue “will not bring a good end.”
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said after Pelosi’s arrival that the US was “not going to be intimidated” by threats or hawkish rhetoric from China.
Mr. Kirby said the visit is not a violation of any sovereignty issues or the long-standing “one China policy.”
“There is no reason for this visit to be the occasion for a crisis or conflict,” Mr. Kirby added.
Taiwan’s presidential office said President Tsai Ing-wen will meet with Ms. Pelosi on Wednesday morning and have lunch with her.

Four sources said she was also scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon with a group of activists who are outspoken about China’s human rights situation.

Ms. Pelosi, 82, is a close ally of US President Joe Biden, both members of the Democratic Party and were key in getting his legislative agenda through the US Congress.
On Tuesday evening, Taiwan’s tallest building, Taipei 101, was lit up with messages including: “Welcome to Taiwan”, “Speaker Pelosi”, “Taiwan (heart) of the USA.”
China sees US officials’ visits to Taiwan as an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the democratic self-ruled island.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to take control of the island.
Taiwan rejects China’s claim to sovereignty and says that only its people can decide the future of the island.

The United States does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but the United States is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.