Pelosi jabs at Xi before leaving Taiwan

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ended her visit to Taiwan on Wednesday, delivering a message of solidarity with the island republic and pushing back against China’s threats against her and the Taiwanese government over the trip.

“Whether it’s certain insecurities on the part of the president of China as to his own political situation that he’s ratting his saber, I don’t know,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a press conference in Taipei in response to a question about the bellicose response her visit to Taiwan provoked from China and its president, Xi Jinping.

“But what matters to us is that we salute the successes of Taiwan, we work together for the security of Taiwan and we just take great lessons from the democracy in Taiwan.”

Pelosi’s highly anticipated trip to Taiwan — an unannounced but widely reported stop on her tour across Asia this week — sparked controversy as China, which claims the island as part of its territory and threatened a forceful response if the speaker visited the island. China ramped up its actions and rhetoric once Pelosi arrived in Taipei on Tuesday, announcing it would conduct targeted drills and missile tests around Taiwan, and sending aircraft into the island’s air defense zone.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement Tuesday that the visit “seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In her remarks on Wednesday, the speaker stressed that although she’s the highest-ranking elected U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, other members of Congress have visited the country in recent years. A group of six U.S. lawmakers, including Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), visited the island in April.

“They made a big fuss because I’m the speaker, I guess. I don’t know if that was a reason or an excuse. Because they didn’t say anything when the men came,” Pelosi said.

She also waved off China’s military action response to her visit, saying that “whatever China was going to do they’ll do in their own good time.”

“What excuse they may use to do it is another thing,” she said.

The speaker, a longtime critic of China, said upon her arrival on Tuesday that the trip would “focus on our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests.” She doubled down on that message of solidarity with Taiwan in her remarks before departing the island.

“Our delegation came here to deliver an unequivocal message: America stands with Taiwan,” she said.


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