House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan, defying warnings from the Chinese government about the high-profile visit. Pelosi is the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan since 1997 when House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited the democratic, self-governing island.
"Our congressional delegation's visit to Taiwan honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy," Pelosi said in a statement. "America's solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy."
Pelosi added that her visit does not change America's diplomatic position on Taiwan.
"Our visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan – and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, U.S.-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances," the statement continued. "The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo."
When rumors of Pelosi's trip first surfaced, Chinese officials issued several warnings, advising her against making the trip. On Monday (August 1), the Chinese government warned of the "egregious political impact" of her visit and said its military "won't sit by idly" if the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of China is threatened.
On Tuesday, several Chinese warplanes flew near the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, and several warships have been sailing in the vicinity over the past few days.
After Pelosi landed, the Chinese government issued a statement condemning her trip.
"This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations and seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
In response to her visit, the People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command announced it would begin conducting "a series of joint military operations around the island," including live-fire exercises.