The visit by the speaker of the US House of Representatives unleashed fury in Beijing including military live fire drills. China has long considered Taiwan, which was originally ruled by the remnants of the KMT nationalists defeated by the Communists in the Chinese Civil war, part of its own territory.
Despite Washington’s current hostility to Beijing, it broadly supports the one China policy while supporting Taiwan’s right to defend itself, a position it has held since 1979.
There have been fears that Ms Pelosi’s visit was an indication that the Biden administration was moving away from this position.
While visiting Japan in May, US President Joe Biden said that he was willing to use force to defend Taiwan.
However, he soon appeared to backtrack, claiming there had been no change to the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” in relation to Taiwan.
However, this is something that Ms Pelosi denied when speaking at a press conference in Japan on the next stage of her Asia tour.
She said: “We have said from the start that our representation here is not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.
“We have said from the start that our representation here is not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.
“The Chinese government is not pleased that our friendship with Taiwan is a strong one.”
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The veteran Italian-American lawmaker also praised Taiwan’s democracy, economic success and human rights record particularly in relation to the LGBTQ community with the island becoming the first Asian nation to legalise same sex marriage.
Ms Pelosi contrasted this with what she argues is Beijing’s “horrible” human rights record and accused it of “genocide”.
She said: “The fact is, I have said it again and again, 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.
“China has some contradictions – some progress in terms of lifting people up, some horrible things happening in terms of the Uyghurs.
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Human rights groups have accused Beijing of abuse against Xinjiang’s Uyghur ethnic group, accusations that China denies.
China has condemned Ms Pelosi’s trip, which took the California lawmaker and her delegation to Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea as well as Taiwan and Japan.
The Chinese state broadcaster said the military exercises, which began on Thursday and are set to end on Sunday, would be the largest conducted by China in the Taiwan Strait.
The exercises have included live fire on the waters and in the airspace around the island.
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