US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lands in Japan, final stop on Asia tour

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Japan on Thursday for the final stop on her Asia tour, following a visit to Taiwan that wowed China.
AFP reporters watched the politician disembark at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, before greeting the US ambassador and other officials with hugs and handshakes.

Beijing has been conducting large-scale military exercises in the waters around Taiwan after Pelosi this week became the highest-ranking elected US official to set foot on the self-ruled island in 25 years.

The 82-year-old politician defied a series of stern threats from China to meet Taiwan’s leaders on Wednesday, saying her trip made it “clearly clear” that the United States would not give up a democratic ally.

This is Pelosi’s first trip to Japan since 2015 and she is from South Korea, where her schedule includes a border visit with nuclear-armed North Korea.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said she will meet Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for breakfast on Friday, to discuss the two countries’ alliance and issues of mutual concern.

Pelosi is also scheduled to discuss international affairs with Japanese House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda.

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Japan, a key US ally, has protested diplomatically to China over major military exercises besieging Taiwan, which began on Thursday.

Shortly before Pelosi’s arrival, Defense Secretary Nobuo Kishi said five ballistic missiles fired by China are believed to have landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Parts of Japan’s southernmost island region of Okinawa close to Taiwan, as well as the small islands, are at the center of a protracted dispute between Tokyo and Beijing.

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US President Joe Biden also angered Beijing during his visit to Japan in May, when he said US forces would defend Taiwan militarily if China tried to gain control of the island. by force – prompting Beijing to warn that the US was “playing with fire”.

However, Biden and his team insisted at the time that their decades-old approach to Taiwan remained.

This includes arming the democratic island to defend itself while acknowledging China’s legitimate sovereignty and expressing “strategic ambiguity” about whether the US military would intervene if China encroaches. territory or not.

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