US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan

By Jessie Yeung, Rob Picheta and Megan Trimble, CNN

Updated 12:26 p.m. ET, August 4, 2022
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8:53 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Taiwan's Defense Ministry says it's keeping a close watch on China's military activities around the island

From CNN's Wayne Chang

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday expressed its "solemn condemnation" of China’s live-fire drills around the island, saying the Chinese military's exercises show its mentality of “using force to resolve differences."

“The live fire drills are an attempt to threaten our key ports and urban areas, unilaterally undermining regional peace and stability. This will not help China’s international image and hurt people’s feelings on both sides of the Strait,” the island's Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

The Defense Ministry is keeping close tabs on the Chinese military’s activities, has strengthened its alertness and will “respond timely and appropriately as needed," it said, reiterating: "We have the resolve, capabilities and confidence to ensure national security."

Some context: After Pelosi's arrival late Tuesday, China's military said it would start exercises around Taiwan in response and launch a series of "targeted military operations to counteract the situation," according to statements from China's Eastern Theater Command and Ministry of Defense. 

9:03 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan's presidential office and parliament on Wednesday

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan on August 3.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan on August 3. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan's presidential office and parliament on Wednesday morning local time, a senior Taiwanese official told CNN.

Pelosi will first visit the parliament, before heading to meet Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, the official said.

Pelosi is expected to depart Taiwan later on Wednesday, according to a news release issued by the island's Foreign Ministry.

The official is not authorized to speak about Pelosi's travel plans, which have not been publicized.

9:45 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Pelosi says visit "should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan"

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, walks with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, as she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, walks with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, as she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2. (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs/AP)

In a statement after her arrival in Taipei on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the visit to Taiwan "honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy."

"Our discussions with Taiwan leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region," she said.

She also wrote an opinion piece published in the Washington Post Tuesday defending her visit and dismissing Chinese threats over it.

“In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom,” she wrote, adding: “We cannot stand by as the CCP proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself.”

White House response: Speaking to CNN after Pelosi's arrival, John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, reiterated that there was "no change to our 'One China' policy."

“What we’ve been saying, and saying quite clearly here for the last several days: There should be no reason for (China) to use this visit as some sort of a pretext for any kind of action that would escalate tensions," he added.

"We have no interest in escalating tensions, and the case that we’ve been making all along is she has every right to go and her going is absolutely consistent with our policy.”

8:26 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Beijing says Pelosi's visit will have a "severe impact" on US-China relations

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a “serious violation of the one-China principle” which will have a “severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday after the speaker landed in Taipei.

The Taiwan Strait was "facing a new round of tensions and severe challenges," because of "repeated moves by the Taiwan authorities and the United States to change the status quo,” the statement said, before accusing the US of “attempting to use Taiwan to contain China.”

“[Pelosi's visit] gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for 'Taiwan independence.' China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this, and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the US,” the statement added. 

In its statement Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also accused the US of working to "embolden 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities."

"These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it," the statement read, repeating language used last week by Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a phone call with US President Joe Biden, where the issue of Taiwan was discussed at length.

Some context: In what is known as the "One China" policy, Washington recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China; it also acknowledges Beijing's position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never accepted the Chinese Communist Party’s claim of sovereignty over the island. 

During their call last week, Biden told Xi during that US policy “had not changed,” according to a White House readout, and that the United States "strongly opposes" unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

8:16 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

It's 8:15 a.m. in Taipei, Taiwan. Here's what you need to know

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday. (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs/AP)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan Tuesday evening, marking a significant show of support for the self-ruled island despite China's threats of retaliation over the visit.

Here's the latest:

  • Pelosi's arrival: Pelosi and the US congressional delegation landed in Taipei late on Tuesday, greeted by the island's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and a crowd of reporters. In a statement, Pelosi said the visit "honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy."
  • China's response: The Chinese Foreign Ministry released a lengthy statement after her arrival, saying it would "definitely take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity." The visit "has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations," it warned.
  • Military exercises: China's military said it was on "high alert" and would conduct exercises around Taiwan in response to Pelosi's trip, saying in statements it was launching a series "targeted military operations to counteract the situation."
  • ADIZ incursions: Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said 21 Chinese warplanes made incursions into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday. In response, the Taiwanese military issued radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor the activities, it added.
  • Pelosi's schedule: The House speaker is expected to visit Taiwan's presidential office, where she will meet Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, and parliament on Wednesday morning local time, a senior Taiwanese official told CNN.
7:58 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

In response to Pelosi visit, China says it will start "targeted military operations" around Taiwan

From CNN’s Shawn Deng, Yong Xiong and Hannah Ritchie 

China’s military will start exercises around Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governed island and launch a series of “targeted military operations to counteract the situation,” according to statements released by its Eastern Theater Command and Ministry of Defense Tuesday. 

An announcement from the People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command said beginning Tuesday night a series of exercises would be held on the sea and in the air surrounding Taiwan, the self-governed island that China says is its sovereign territory.

"This action is a solemn deterrent against the recent major escalation of the negative actions of the United States on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to the 'Taiwan independence' forces seeking 'independence,'" Col. Shi Yi, spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement.

The Eastern Theater is one of the five joint commands of the People's Liberation Army with jurisdiction over China’s eastern coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, which sit opposite and above Taiwan. 

In a separate statement, China’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that the Chinese army is on “high alert” and will “launch a series of targeted military operations” intended to “defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“China has repeatedly clarified the serious consequences of the visit to Taiwan, but Pelosi knowingly and maliciously provoked and created a crisis. The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is on high alert and will launch a series of targeted military operations to counteract the situation, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart the interference of external forces and 'Taiwan independence' secessionist schemes,” Ministry of Defense spokesperson Wu Qian said. 

In an unusual move, Chinese state media posted on Twitter a map showing six areas around Taiwan where it said the PLA would conduct drills, including live-fire exercises from Thursday through Sunday.

Some context: The Chinese military has been releasing videos and posting messages vowing to safeguard its “national sovereignty and territorial integrity” since the news of a possible Pelosi visit to Taiwan broke last month. 

Prior to Pelosi’s visit US officials said they were ready for China to continue to conduct potentially aggressive air or at-sea interactions with the US or allies in the region if the visit went forward, but did not expect direct hostile action from Beijing.

A security plan involving ships and aircraft was developed by the Pentagon to ensure Pelosi was kept safe while visiting Taiwan, several defense officials familiar with the matter told CNN last week.

7:54 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

China summoned US ambassador to protest Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, state media says

From CNN’s Yong Xiong and Philip Wang

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng late Tuesday night local time summoned the US Ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, to protest Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on Wednesday. 

Xie accused Pelosi of “deliberately provoking and playing with fire against people’s will,” saying the nature of her act is “extremely egregious” and the consequence will be “extremely serious.” 

“Anyone who attempts to manipulate the Taiwan issue to gain political gain … will eventually be nailed to the pillar of shame in history,” Xie said, according to the state media report. 

He also said the US government has been “acting treacherous,” and it should have restrained Pelosi from “acting recklessly,” but it allowed her to continue her visit, which aggravated tensions across the Taiwan Strait and “seriously damaged China-U.S. relations.” 

Xie added that China will “take necessary and resolute countermeasures” and “do what we say.”

CNN has reached out to the US Embassy in China for comment. 

Some context: Following Pelosi's arrival, China's Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the trip, saying it would have a "severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations."

In an interview with CNN Tuesday evening, China’s ambassador to the US Qin Gang affirmed China’s rejection of the Pelosi trip, saying it would result in an escalation of tensions across the Taiwan strait and in US-China relations. 

7:35 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Pelosi's visit comes at a sensitive time for China

From CNN's Nectar Gan

A man uses a magnifying glass to read a newspaper headline reporting on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Asia visit at a stand in Beijing on Sunday, July 31.
A man uses a magnifying glass to read a newspaper headline reporting on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Asia visit at a stand in Beijing on Sunday, July 31. (Andy Wong/AP)

The visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, a high-profile critic of Beijing, comes at a sensitive time for China.

China's military, the People's Liberation Army, celebrated its founding anniversary on August 1, and Xi Jinping, the country's most powerful leader in decades, is preparing to break with convention and seek a third term at the ruling Communist Party's 20th congress this fall.

While the politically sensitive timing could trigger a stronger response from Beijing, the Communist Party could also want to ensure stability and prevent things from getting out of control, experts say.

"Honestly, this isn't a good time for Xi Jinping to provoke a military conflict right before the 20th Party congress. It's in Xi Jinping's interest to manage this rationally and not instigate a crisis on top of all the other crises he has to deal with," said Drew Thompson, a visiting senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Thompson pointed to China's slowing economy, deepening real estate crisis, rising unemployment, and constant struggle to curb sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks under its zero-Covid policy.

"So I think whatever they do, it will be measured, it will be calculated. They'll certainly attempt to put more pressure on Taiwan, but I think they'll stop well short of anything that's particularly risky, or that could create conditions that they can't control," he said.

But Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at China's Renmin University, said it's hard to predict what China will do.

"It is a very difficult situation to deal with. Firstly, (Beijing) must resolutely take unprecedented countermeasures. Secondly, it must prevent military conflicts between the United States and China," he said. "We won't know how things will turn out until the last minute."

7:48 p.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Taiwan says China sent 21 warplanes into the island's air defense identification zone on Tuesday

From CNN’s Eric Cheung in Taipei, Taiwan and Wayne Chang in Hong Kong

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense says 21 Chinese warplanes made incursions into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, the same day US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a US congressional delegation landed in Taipei.  

The incursions were made by 10 J-16 fighter jets, 8 J-11 fighter jets, one Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft, one Y-8 electronic intelligence aircraft, and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday night.

In response, the Taiwanese military issued radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor the activities, it added.

Some context: China frequently sends warplanes into Taiwan's self-declared ADIZ. The highest number of incursions ever recorded was on October 4 last year, when 56 military planes flew into the area on the same day.

An ADIZ is unilaterally imposed and distinct from sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory’s shoreline.