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United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed in Taiwan’s capital Taipei on Tuesday August 2. Her arrival on the island marks a significant show of support for Taiwan despite China’s threats of retaliation over the Speaker’s visit. Pelosi’s visit also marks the first visit of a US House Speaker to Taiwan in a quarter of a century. The US formally switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 — but has long trod a delicate middle path. Washington recognises the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the sole legitimate government of China, but maintains close unofficial ties with Taiwan. The US also supplies Taiwan with defensive weaponry under the terms of the decades-old Taiwan Relations Act, but the US had long remained deliberately vague on whether it would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion — a policy known as “strategic ambiguity.” That ambiguity came to an end on May 22 when US President Biden said, during an interview, that the US would defend Taiwan militarily if China invades. Biden’s pronouncement resulted in the escalation of already high tensions between Beijing and Washington.
In a clear new escalation of tensions, China has responded to Pelosi’s visit. saying that the Chinese military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing believes its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has made public that he opposed the actions of his fellow democrat who is being accompanied to Asia by a congressional delegation. However, the US president has said, too, that Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, is head of a separate arm of the US government, and, as president and head of the executive arm of the government, he has no authority to order the Speaker not to make the trip.