Pelosi lands in Taiwan, over the objections of Biden and China

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night, despite objections from one of her closest allies, President Joe Biden, and threats of reprisal from communist China.

Beijing had warned that Pelosi was “playing with fire” with the “extremely dangerous” trip, BBC reported.

Pelosi lands in Taiwan

Pelosi was greeted on the tarmac by Taiwanese officials before being driven to her hotel for the night, where a crowd of cheering locals gave her a warm welcome.

The joyous scene belied the international tensions prompted by Pelosi’s visit, which has received only lukewarm support from the Biden White House and, in an interesting twist, stalwart support from Republicans.

“I believe she has every right to go,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said.

Biden, softening his tone, said he “respects” Pelosi’s decision just days after saying that the Pentagon disagreed with her trip.

“He respects her decision to go and he believes it is perfectly consistent with American policy going back decades,” said national security spokesman John Kirby.

“Playing with fire”

Pelosi’s critics worry she is provoking a military response from China, which has considered the island of Taiwan to be part of its sovereign territory since the communists won control of mainland China in the country’s civil war. Of particular concern: Pelosi arrived in an Air Force plane.

China had warned that Pelosi is “playing with fire,” but Pelosi, in a Washington Post op-ed, said that the U.S. must “make clear that we never give in to autocrats.” At the same time, Pelosi and Biden have downplayed her visit as nothing new.

Pelosi said the trip “in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy” of maintaining informal ties with Taiwan.

Her visit is the most high-profile by an American delegate since former Speaker Newt Gingrich went to Taiwan in the 1990s, when China was significantly weaker than it is today. The communist nation has since developed into an industrial powerhouse with an economy rivaling the United States and aggressive geopolitical ambitions.

After Pelosi touched down in Taipei, China announced it would conduct live-fire military drills around Taiwan starting Thursday.

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