Pelosi departs Taiwan as Tensions Rise
Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker, was welcomed to Taiwan by leaders eager to accept American support. But when she departed on Wednesday, she left behind a crisis.
Pelosi met with Taiwanese lawmakers and then with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, offering assurance of U.S. support for the island that China claims as its own. The meetings, though light on substance, were widely welcomed in Taiwan as a rare symbolic victory in which a major foreign power showed its support in the face of intense opposition from China.
Taiwan is now bracing for China to begin live-fire military drills on Thursday — an escalation without recent precedent — that could encircle the island and drop missiles only 10 miles from its coast. China also suspended its exports of natural sand to Taiwan and stopped imports of certain types of fruit and fish from the island.
Diplomacy: The Biden administration has spent months building an economic and diplomatic strategy in Asia to counter China, and Pelosi’s visit leaves allies to wonder what damage has been done to the president’s united front. Europe, which mostly does not support the independence of Taiwan, has sought to stay out of the conflict.
In the region: Japan, whose westernmost inhabited island lies less than 70 miles from Taiwan, has increasingly come to view Taiwan as important to its national security.