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Pelosi Taiwan visit live: China begins largest-ever military drills after US House speaker’s visit


Nancy Pelosi sends ‘unequivocal message’ that ‘America stands with Taiwan’

China started its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan today after Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the island nation. Taiwan called the military drills around the island “illegitimate and irresponsible”.

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party said that China’s drills on the busiest international waterways and aviation routes are “irresponsible, illegitimate behaviour.”

US House speaker Pelosi left Taiwan on a US Air Force jet on last evening, concluding a historic and high-stakes visit that drew a slew of angry responses from China. Her next stop is South Korea.

Taiwan said on Thursday that it had fired flares to drive away an unidentified aircraft — probably drones — that had flown in on Wednesday night above the area of its Kinmen islands.

Beijing warned of “punishing” those who offend it, while Chinese state media called the speaker’s trip an “opening salvo of war”.

On Thursday, Ms Pelosi met South Korean National Assembly speaker Kim Jin Pyo and other senior members of Parliament for talks on regional security, economic cooperation and climate issues.

Meanwhile, Russia backed China’s assertion that the trip was a deliberate attempt by Washington to irritate Beijing, while a Kremlin spokesperson said that the tension created from Ms Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan “should not be underestimated”.

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Watch: Archival footage shows Nancy Pelosi unfurl pro-democracy banner in Tiananmen Square

In 1991, Nancy Pelosi was part of a congressional delegation that visited China.

Standing in Tiananmen Square, where two years earlier the Chinese government had massacred pro-democracy demonstrators, the group unfurled a banner that read, “TO THOSE WHO DIED FOR DEMOCRACY IN CHINA.”

“I felt like that that was such a courageous and also formative, I would say, experience from her,” Samuel Chu, whose father Reverend Chu Yiu-ming gave the representatives the banner, told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “I think that that, in a way, was a foundational piece to the way that she had not only dealt with China, and human rights, but I think across the board.”

Watch video of the historic gesture below.

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Japan is ‘concerned’ about Chinese military drills amid Pelosi Taiwan trip

US ally Japan is alarmed about China’s plans to conduct live fire exercises around Taiwan amid House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial Asia tour.

“We are concerned that Beijing has announced various military activities,” a Japanese official told Newsweek. “Moreover, the area that China announced for its military drills includes Japan’s EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone].”

Dave Harding has more information about what China is planning.

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