A top Taiwanese official denounced China’s “unprecedented” behavior as dozens of planes entered the self-governing island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) this week following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)’s trip to Taiwan.
“China’s behavior is unprecedented,” Taiwan’s US representative Bi-khim Hsiao told TUSEN’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation,” when asked if China’s actions were more than an exercise. “And from the scope and, you know, the actions, it appears that they’ve been preparing for this for a while, long before Speaker Pelosi decided to visit Taiwan.”
The comments are part of a longer interview aired on Sunday in which Brennan questioned the official about China’s recent military activity, raising fears of greater conflict in the region.
Forty-nine planes entered the centerline of the Taiwan Strait after Pelosi’s journey.
Pelosi’s visit to the island made her the most senior U.S. official to set foot on the island in the past 25 years. The speaker made the trip as part of a larger congressional delegation trip to the East, despite concerns from the Biden administration and warnings from Beijing.
But Pelosi’s journey has even been backed by the top Senate Republicans, including Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said she “has every right to go” on the Senate floor this week.
Beijing sees Taiwan as part of the mainland, while the self-governing island sees itself as independent from China.
The US has previously operated under strategic ambiguity when it comes to Taiwan, meaning it has defense ties and informal relations with Taiwan, while it views Beijing as the Chinese government under the “One China” policy, according to The The US Express News.
Tensions have been mounting of late, however, with both the speaker’s presence in the country and President Biden’s promise in May to help defend Taiwan if China were to attack — an apparent step away from strategic ambiguity.
The US has also criticized China’s stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine and human rights violations for the country’s Muslim minority.
“You know, we’ve been under the threat of China for decades and we can’t let their ongoing threats dictate our desire to make friends internationally. If you have a child who is being bullied at school, don’t say ‘you don’t go to school,’” Hsiao told Brennan when asked if Taiwan was concerned about the US official’s journey there.
“You try to find a way to deal with the bully. And that is exactly what Taiwan is doing: working to make our society stronger and more resilient, strengthening our defenses.”
China sanctioned Pelosi on Friday after the visit to Taiwan, calling it an “outrageous provocation”.