Pelosi visits Japan after Taiwan trip sparks Beijing's military drills

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives at Yokota U.S. Air Force Base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will meet with Japanese authorities on Friday in Tokyo, following a visit to Taiwan that Beijing responded to with unprecedented military exercises and missile launches, including five that fell within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Pelosi's brief trip to Taiwan, during which she arrived unannounced with a congressional group late on Tuesday and departed on Wednesday, was the highest-level U.S. visit to the self-governed island, which China claims as its own, in 25 years.

It also occurred when Tokyo, one of Washington's closest allies, grew increasingly frightened about China's growing power in the Indo-Pacific and the likelihood that Beijing would launch a military attack against Taiwan.

Pelosi praised Taiwan's democracy and offered United States support. Beijing replied with what state television described as China's greatest military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, including live shooting on the waters and airspace surrounding the island.

Five missiles fell in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), forcing Tokyo to complain vehemently via financial channels.

Japan, whose southernmost islands are closer to Taiwan than Tokyo, has warned that Chinese intimidation of Taiwan poses an increasing threat to its national security.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has likewise committed to boosting military spending to 2 percent of GDP.

China canceled a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers, which had been scheduled to take place alongside an ASEAN summit in Cambodia, due to its disagreement with a G7 statement urging Beijing to handle Taiwan tensions peacefully.

Pelosi landed in Japan on Friday after visiting South Korea on Thursday, when she pledged support for North Korea's denuclearization.

Friday morning in Tokyo, she and Kishida met for a chat. She is also anticipated to meet with her Japanese counterpart, Hiroyuki Hosoda, the speaker of the more influential lower house of parliament.

During a May visit to Japan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden stated that he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, which appeared to contradict the U.S. policy of "strategic ambiguity" towards the island.

Publish : 2022-08-05 05:35:00

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