Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo during the final stop of her tour of Asia, Pelosi said China had sought to isolate Taiwan from the international community but would not prevent US officials from traveling there.
“We will not allow (China) to isolate Taiwan,” she said. “They don’t make our travel schedule.”
Before the visit, Beijing warned that it would take “strong measures” if Pelosi went any further. and after her departure, military exercises with live firing began and sent rockets over Taiwan for the first time.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that as of 11:00 Friday, several Chinese warplanes and warships were conducting exercises around the Taiwan Strait and crossed the median line, a point halfway between the island and mainland China.
The Taiwanese military responded with radio warnings, air patrols, naval ships and coastal missile systems, the ministry said.
On Thursday, China deployed 22 warplanes to the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), all of which crossed the median line.
A number of countries, including those from the G7, which includes some of the world’s largest economies, have criticized China’s teachings, urging Beijing not to change the status quo in the region.
In her comments on Friday, Pelosi said the visit to Taiwan was aimed at maintaining the status quo.
“It’s about the Taiwan Relations Act, the policies of the US and China, all the laws and agreements that govern our relationship—making peace in the Taiwan Strait and upholding the status quo,” she said.
Pelosi also dismissed suggestions by some critics that her visit was more about polishing her legacy than benefiting the island, calling the claim “ridiculous.”
She pointed to Taiwan’s “free and open democracy”, a successful economy, and relatively progressive LGBTQ rights. “It’s not about me, it’s about them,” she added. “This is about Taiwan, and I’m proud to have worked over the years to demonstrate the concerns they have with mainland China.”
Later on Friday, China’s foreign ministry announced it was imposing sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family for her “vicious and provocative actions,” saying her trip amounted to “serious interference in China’s internal affairs (and) serious undermining of sovereignty and territorial integrity.” China”. ” “
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday called for an immediate halt to China’s exercises, calling them “a serious concern regarding the security of our country and its people.”
Earlier, Japan filed a formal complaint after five Chinese missiles fell in its exclusive economic zone.
Amid deteriorating relations, China canceled a planned meeting between Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers.
On Thursday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Deng Li summoned European, EU and Japanese ambassadors to China to protest their statements regarding Taiwan.
The G7 statement “distorts the facts” and is “a blatant political provocation,” Deng said, accusing the countries involved of interfering in China’s internal affairs.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was the first visit by a sitting speaker of the House of Representatives in 25 years since former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s visit in 1997. Her Asian tour also included stops in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.
Gawon Bae and Yong Xiong of CNN in Seoul, Emiko Yozuka in Tokyo, Eric Cheung in Taipei, and Sam Fossum in Washington DC contributed to this report.