China cannot stop world leaders from visiting Taiwan: Pelosi
Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that despite China's best efforts to sideline Taiwan on the international stage, Beijing could not prevent world leaders from traveling to the self-ruled democracy.
Pelosi made the comments in a statement released shortly after concluding a whirlwind 19-hour visit to Taiwan Wednesday, where she met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), lawmakers, and human rights activists.
While noting that Taiwan had been "prevented from participating in global meetings, most recently the World Health Organization, because of objections by the Chinese Communist Party," Pelosi said her visit was evidence that Beijing could not prevent "world leaders or anyone from traveling to Taiwan to pay respect to its flourishing Democracy [sic]."
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, ignoring warnings and threats by China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and opposes any official interactions that imply otherwise.
China responded to Pelosi's visit by announcing a series of military maneuvers in six maritime areas near Taiwan to be held in the days following her departure.
Pelosi's stopover, part of a wider tour of the Indo-Pacific, makes the 82-year-old California Democrat the first sitting U.S. House speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997, when her predecessor, Republican Newt Gingrich, traveled to Taipei and met with then-President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
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