China will not isolate Taiwan by preventing U.S. officials from travelling there, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday in Tokyo, wrapping up her Asia tour highlighted by a visit to Taipei that infuriated China.
Pelosi said the Chinese have tried to isolate Taiwan, including most recently, by preventing the self-governing island from joining the World Health Organization.
“They may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there,” she said, defending her trip that some say has escalated tension in the region.
Pelosi called the contention “ridiculous” and said that her trip to Taiwan was not intended to change the status quo for the island but to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait. She praised Taiwan’s hard-fought democracy, including its progress in diversity LGBTQ rights, and success in technology and business, while criticizing China’s violations of trade agreements, the proliferation of weapons and human rights problems.
“If we do not speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out about human rights any place in the world,” Pelosi said. “China has some contradictions — some progress in lifting people up, some horrible things happening in the Uyghurs. It’s been labelled a genocide.”
Pelosi said “the two big countries” — the United States and China — must communicate on climate and other global issues. “It isn’t about our visit determining what the U.S.-China relationship is. It’s a much bigger and longer-term challenge, and once again, we must recognize that we must work together on certain areas.”
“Our friendship with Taiwan is a strong one. It is bipartisan in the House and in the Senate, overwhelming support for peace and the status quo in Taiwan,” she said.
Pelosi, the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said Wednesday in Taipei that American commitment to democracy on the island and elsewhere “remains ironclad.”
Pelosi and five other members of Congress arrived in Tokyo late Thursday after visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.