- US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lands in Taiwan.
- The US sends warships east of Taiwan, increasing military activity ahead of Pelosi’s visit.
- Chinese planes fly close to the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, as do Chinese warships, Reuters reports.
- Russia calls the prospect of Pelosi’s visit “purely provocative” and an attempt to pressure China.
This live blog is now closed, thank you for joining us. These were the updates on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday, August 2:
China’s military reaction ‘predictable’ so far: Expert
China sending planes to Taiwan’s defence zone is “quite predictable”, Divya Gopalan, international editor TaiwanPlus, told Al Jazeera. “The question is, will those planes go further into bonafide Taiwan airspace, then, that will set a precedent and very clearly send a message,” Gopalan said.
“There are questions about whether they would even dare fly over Taiwan’s soil, if that’s the case, that would ratchet up tensions,” she said.
Biden ‘respects’ Pelosi’s decision to visit Taiwan: WH
In response to a reporter’s question about whether US President Joe Biden supports Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, John Kirby, the White House’s National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said:
“The President as a former senator, fully respects, the right and the prerogative, frankly, the responsibility of members of Congress to include the Speaker of the House to travel overseas.”
Pelosi positioned as a freedom fighter
Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi speaking from Washington, DC, said by visiting Taiwan, Pelosi was being portrayed as a “freedom fighter” for democracy.
“As soon as she arrived, various tweets, articles, statements emerged positioning Pelosi as a freedom fighter in the battle against autocracy on behalf of democracy,” he said, which she likened to her trip to Ukraine back in May.
China planning ‘unprecedented’ military exercises: Expert
Taylor Fravel, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology expert on China’s military, said China’s planned exercises appear as though they may be greater in scope than during a Taiwan Strait crisis in 1995 and 1996.
“Taiwan will face military exercises and missile tests from its north, south, east and west. This is unprecedented,” Fravel said.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin backs Pelosi
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia has said that he does not view Pelosi’s trip as a “big deal”.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “They are a peace-loving, they’re a freedom loving country. And we do an awful lot of trade with them,” Manchin told reporters.
“She didn’t take anything to do them harm, and she doesn’t wish China any harm,” he said.
‘Like a hero’: People in Taiwan welcome Pelosi
Pan Kuan, a 30-year-old English teacher gathered Pelosi’s hotel, said the House speaker “is like a hero” for coming to Taiwan and defying China.
“I think this has encouraged all the Taiwanese people. Although there was great pressure from China, she still chose the camp with democracy and freedom, and courageously came to Taiwan,” Kuan told The Associated Press. “She is like a hero. She courageously fought China’s pressure. I think that takes some courage to do so.”
Taiwan’s FM thanks Pelosi for visit
Taiwan’s foreign ministry thanked Pelosi for her visit and published pictures from the airport in a post on social media.
“Thank you & the congressional delegation for traveling all the way to show support,” the tweet read.
Chinese aircraft enter Taiwan’s defence zone: Reports
Quoting Taiwan’s defence ministry, the Reuters news agency reported that 21 Chinese aircraft have entered Taiwan’s defence zone.
Russia says China has right to take measures to protect sovereignty
In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry has said China has the right to take measures to protect its sovereignty.
Earlier, Moscow called Pelosi’s trip a “provocation” and warned that it would put the US on a collision course with China.
Top Republican leader backs Pelosi visit
In a rare show of bipartisan support, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he backed Pelosi’s visit as a display of support for Taiwan’s democracy. He said any allegations that her itinerary was provocative are “utterly absurd”.
“I believe she has every right to go,” McConnell said in a Senate speech.
China’s FM calls Pelosi visit a ‘serious violation’
China’s foreign ministry has issued a statement calling Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan “a serious violation of the one-China principle”.
“It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to the statement. “It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence’.”
Pelosi arrives in hotel
Pelosi has arrived at a hotel in Taipei, The Associated Press reported.