Following a visit to Taiwan, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House, will meet with Japanese officials in Tokyo on Friday. In response, Beijing conducted unprecedented military exercises and launched five missiles, five of which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Pelosi’s brief visit to Taiwan was the highest-level American visit to the self-ruled island in 25 years. She arrived unannounced with a congressional group late on Tuesday and left on Wednesday.
It also happened at a time when Tokyo, one of Washington’s closest allies, was growing more concerned about China’s rising might in the Indo-Pacific region and the risk that Beijing may launch an attack on Taiwan.
Pelosi praised Taiwan’s democracy and vowed support from the United States. Beijing retaliated with military exercises, involving live firing on the waters and in the sky surrounding the island, that a state television claimed would be the biggest by China in the Taiwan Strait.
A strong complaint was made by Tokyo through economic channels after five missiles touched down in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Japan has issued a warning that Chinese intimidation of Taiwan poses an increasing threat to national security because its southernmost islands are closer to Taiwan than Tokyo.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, has likewise promised to double military spending to 2 percent of GDP.
China announced on Thursday that a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers, scheduled to take place on the sidelines of an ASEAN summit in Cambodia, had been cancelled because of its displeasure with a G7 statement urging Beijing to resolve Taiwan tension peacefully. This announcement caused tensions between Japan and China to increase.
Following a trip to South Korea on Thursday, where she pledged support for denuclearising North Korea, Nancy Pelosi arrived in Japan.
She and Kishida had a discussion on Friday morning in Tokyo. She will also likely see Hiroyuki Hosoda, speaker of the more powerful lower house of parliament in Japan.
U.S. President Joe Biden indicated he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan when visiting Japan in May. This remark seemed to push the boundaries of the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” towards the island.