McConnell and 25 Senate Republicans issue rare statement of support for Pelosi as she visits Taiwan in defiance of China's threats
- McConnell and 25 other Senate Republicans issued a statement supporting Pelosi's trip to Taiwan.
- The statement shows how challenging China has become a rare issue with bipartisan support.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and over two dozen other Senate Republicans issued a rare statement of support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday as she visited Taiwan amid threats from Beijing.
"We support Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan," the statement, which was also signed by prominent Republicans like Sens. John Thune, John Cornyn, Susan Collins, and Jim Risch, said.
"For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have travelled to Taiwan," the statement went on to say. "This travel is consistent with the United States' One China policy to which we are committed. We are also committed now, more than ever, to all elements of the Taiwan Relations Act."
The statement exemplifies how challenging China has become a bipartisan issue in Washington despite historic political divisions.
Under the One China policy, which has guided the US's approach to Taiwan for decades, the US offers diplomatic recognition to Beijing's position that there is only one Chinese government. The US also does not support Taiwan's independence, and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taipei.
But the US maintains a robust economic partnership with Taiwan, and strong unofficial ties. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the US government is compelled to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons. The US is Taiwan's top supplier of arms.
Ahead of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, China warned of a possible military response. The Chinese government has contended that Pelosi's trip to the self-governing island democracy undermines the One China policy and excoriated her for making the journey.
China's Foreign Ministry in a statement on Tuesday said Pelosi's trip "gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for 'Taiwan independence.'"
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Pelosi said that visiting Taiwan serves as an important sign of America's commitment to democracy.
"We cannot stand by as the [Chinese Communist Party] proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself," Pelosi said, adding: "Indeed, we take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy. As Russia wages its premeditated, illegal war against Ukraine, killing thousands of innocents — even children — it is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats."
Pelosi, the highest-ranking US lawmaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, also rejected the notion that her trip violated the One China policy.
China on Tuesday said it's holding live-fire military exercises close to Taiwan in response to Pelosi's visit.
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