House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday made her highly contentious visit to Taiwan an exercise in gender politics.
During remarks at an event with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the California Democrat said China did not unleash clouds of bellicose rhetoric, as it has on the subject of her visit, when other members of Congress visited the island, according to Bloomberg.
“They made a big fuss because I’m the speaker, I guess. I don’t know if that was a reason or an excuse,” Pelosi said. “Because they didn’t say anything when the men came.”
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and four other male lawmakers visited Taiwan in April.
Pelosi used the occasion of her trip to praise women rising in power.
“It’s a great pride for us today, the first woman speaker in the House meeting the first woman president of Taiwan. We have some enthusiasm for that,” she said in Taipei.
Pelosi became the speaker in 2007, while Tsai was elected in 2016.
In her remarks, Pelosi also issued shoutouts to Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene, a member of her delegation, and Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, which functions as the unofficial point of contact for U.S. relations with Taiwan. The United States, bowing to Chinese sensitivities, does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
The speaker left Taiwan on Wednesday, with The Washington Post editorializing that her “unwise” visit left others to contain the damage she caused as China continues military drills around the island.
China’s military has said it would conduct a series of live-fire drills circling Taiwan beginning on Thursday, a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi departs.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 3, 2022
On Tuesday, Taiwan reported 21 Chinese aircraft had entered its air defense identification zone and said drills planned for the next few days were a form of a threat, according to Reuters.
“The so-called drill areas are falling within the busiest international channels in the Indo-Pacific region,” a senior Taiwan official familiar with its security planning told the outlet.
“We can see China’s ambition: to make the Taiwan Strait non-international waters, as well as making the entire area west of the first island chain in the western pacific its sphere of influence,” the source said.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said China might use “economic coercion” to punish Taiwan for having Pelosi visit.
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, said her country’s response has only begun.
“As for the specific countermeasures, what I can tell you is that they’ll include everything that should be included,” she said, according to The New York Times.
“The measures in question will be firm, vigorous and effective, and the U.S. side and Taiwan independence forces will continue feeling them,” Hua said.
The #US and #Taiwan secessionists must assume full responsibility for any consequences arising from #Pelosi‘s visit to Taiwan Island. #China will keep its word, so please have patience and confidence: Chinese FM spokesperson Hua Chunying pic.twitter.com/utyt2UoCGo
— Zhang Meifang张美芳 (@CGMeifangZhang) August 3, 2022
Taiwan has signaled that it will not be a passive spectator to being punished.
“We resolutely defend national sovereignty and will counter any aggression against national sovereignty,” said Maj. Gen. Sun Li-fang, a spokesman for Taiwan’s defense ministry.
“We will strengthen our vigilance with a rational attitude which won’t escalate conflicts,” he said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.