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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., held a conference in Japan on Thursday, where she chided China for trying to stop her from visiting Taiwan.
During a news conference with her Democratic delegation at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan Pelosi said China would not be successful in isolating Taiwan from the rest of the world and that U.S. officials would continue to travel freely there.
“They may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there,” Pelosi said. “We will not allow them to isolate Taiwan,” she added.
In her remarks, Pelosi clarified she was not visiting Indo-Pacific countries to disrupt geopolitical relations or change the “status quo” between the U.S., China, and Taiwan.
“Our representation here is not about changing the status quo here in Asia, changing the status quo of Taiwan. It’s about again the Taiwan relations and the U.S.-China policy, all of the pieces of legislation and agreements that have established what our relationship is, to have peace in the Taiwan Straits and to have the status quo prevail,” she said.
The U.S. officially maintains a “One China” policy, considering Taiwan a providence within China and not its own independent country.
Pelosi also addressed human rights violations in China and said the U.S. should continue to call them out.
“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,” she said, answering a question from a reporter. “We try to find our common ground. China has some contradictions – some progress in terms of lifting people up, and some horrible things happening in terms of the Uyghurs and that has been labeled a ‘genocide.’”
She added: “And we will work collectively together in multilateral coalitions to make sure that the voices of democracy, as messy as it can be, will always be heard, and we will not be afraid to call out anyone who is in violations of human rights.”
On Friday, Pelosi and the other lawmakers met and had breakfast with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
The House Speaker’s comments came the day after she and her Democratic delegation left Taiwan, where they met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
During a ceremony Wednesday morning, Pelosi renewed the United States’ commitment to helping support Taiwan’s democracy.
“Today, our delegation, of which I’m very proud, came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” she said in at the president’s office in Taipei.
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was strongly condemned by China, which continues to conduct live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.