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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday refused to acknowledge any role in China’s aggressive response to her trip to Taiwan and said Chinese President Xi Jinping “acts like a bully” and “has his own insecurities.”
Beijing aggressively increased its military activity around Taiwan in the week following Pelosi’s visit by launching ballistic missiles and crossing the unofficial border it shares with Taipei while conducting simulated air and naval attacks.
But Pelosi rejected the accusation that her trip played a role in the increased military drills and told NBC’s “Today” show, “We are not going to let China isolate Taiwan.”
The speaker also pointed to an unannounced April trip that a bipartisan group of senators took to Taipei and questioned, “If they can ignore a trip of five senators…why would they decide on my trip that it would be different?”
NBC’s Savannah Guthrie pushed back on the timing of the largely “symbolic” trip and noted the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to ensure that China does not more closely align itself with Russia amid Moscow’s deadly war in Europe.
“Well, it may appear to be symbolic to you, but it was very substantial to us, for us to listen to the people in the region about our full agenda,” she said. “But also, not to say we’re not going to Taiwan because the Chinese may act up.
The speaker also said the trip had been pushed back due to the coronavirus.
Pelosi claimed that China has “been shutting down on many things” including top administration issues like climate change, and said her trip had “strong bipartisan support” on the Hill.
The speaker said she is not going to allow China to dictate Congress’ travel plans and said, “Congress can show their support for countries and democracies who are our friends. And according to the Taiwan Policy Act, Taiwan is our friend.”
“We didn’t go there to change our policy. We still support the one-China policy,” she said. “We go there to acknowledge the status quo is what our policy is. There was nothing disruptive about that.”