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Watch | US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departs Taiwan after controversial visit

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi waves as she boards a plane before leaving Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan. (VIA REUTERS)Premium
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi waves as she boards a plane before leaving Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan. (VIA REUTERS)

  • Nancy Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan late Tuesday made her the highest-ranking US official to visit in a quarter century, and the most high-profile success in Tsai’s six-year drive to attract greater foreign support and reduce reliance on China

Leaving a trail of anger from the Chinese government over her brief visit to the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own, the United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi departed from Taiwan on Wednesday, after pledging solidarity with the country and hailing its democracy, Reuters reported. Notably, the US House Speaker, whose delegation made an unannounced but closely watched stop in Taiwan late on Tuesday after visits to Singapore and Malaysia, was scheduled to continue her Asian tour with stops in South Korea and Japan, the report said. Her plane took off from an airport in the capital Taipei at around 6 p.m.(1000 GMT) local time, the report said.

Notably, the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged that the US wouldn’t abandon Taiwan, reaffirming American support for the democratically elected government in Taipei despite threats of fresh trade curbs and military actions by Beijing, according to Bloomberg report. Pelosi made her comments on Wednesday during a Presidential Office ceremony with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen, the report said, while adding that the California Democrat’s arrival in Taiwan late Tuesday made her the highest-ranking US official to visit in a quarter century, and the most high-profile success in Tsai’s six-year drive to attract greater foreign support and reduce reliance on China.

Pelosi expressed that “We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship, now more than ever American solidarity with Taiwan is crucial." She further added, “that’s the message we’re bringing here today." Tsai said Pelosi’s visit showed Taiwan’s staunch international support in the face of a years-long international pressure campaign led by Beijing, which claims the island as its territory. “Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down," Tsai said, after conferring an award on the visiting US lawmaker, the Bloomberg report said.

China has announced trade sanctions and its most provocative military drills in decades in the wake of Pelosi’s visit, which risks sparking a crisis between the world’s biggest economies. President Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden last week he would “resolutely safeguard China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity" and that “whoever plays with fire will get burned."

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Pelosi’s trip a “complete farce" and warned “those who offend China will be punished." Still, China’s failure to follow through on some of the more extreme measures proposed by nationalists to stop Pelosi from visiting Taiwan left some on the mainland disappointed.

(With inputs from Reuters, Bloomberg)

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