House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended her trip to Taiwan on Wednesday, saying that she led a congressional delegation to the self-governing island to "salute this thriving democracy.”
“Our purpose in going to Taiwan was to say that we have this strong relationship built on the status quo, which we support,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
“We will not allow China to isolate Taiwan. They have kept Taiwan from participating in the World Health Organization, other things where Taiwan can make a very valued contribution. And they may keep them from going there, but they're not keeping us from going to Taiwan. We will not allow them to … that was our purpose, to salute this thriving democracy” she added.
Pelosi touched down in Taiwan on Aug. 2, putting the pin on days of speculation regarding whether the Speaker would visit the self-governing island during a trip to the Indo-Pacific region. She was joined by a group of Democratic lawmakers.
Pelosi and her office refused to confirm the trip to Taiwan prior to her arrival, emphasizing that they do not give travel information in advance for security reasons.
The stop in Taiwan, however, was the topic of much speculation, especially since President Biden told reporters in July that “the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now” when asked about the potential trip. China also urged Pelosi against making the trip.
The delegation ultimately held bilateral meetings with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. The trip made Pelosi the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the self-governing island since 1997, when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) traveled to the territory. Pelosi has a history of confronting Chinese leaders.