House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused China of threatening “democracy itself” in an op-ed in The Washington Post that was published shortly before she arrived in Taiwan, a visit that Beijing views as a major provocation.
“We cannot stand by as the CCP proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself,” Pelosi said. She repeated a common line coming out of Washington that the world was facing a choice between “autocracy and democracy.”
President Biden has framed the US rivalry with China and Russia as a global battle between “autocracy and democracy.” He even used the line when asking a group of Gulf monarchies for support against China and Russia at a recent Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia.
Pelosi said in a statement after she landed in Taiwan that “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,” although many in Taiwan oppose her visit.
In a poll of nearly 7,500 readers conducted by Taiwan’s United Daily News website, 61% said the trip was “not welcome” as it “may destabilize the Taiwan Strait.” Only 38% were happy about the visit and said it had “more advantages than disadvantages.”
When Pelosi and her congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan, they were met with protesters who opposed the trip, as well as demonstrators who welcomed the American lawmakers. Pelosi went ahead with the trip knowing it could provoke a major crisis across the Taiwan Strait, and China has announced its military will encircle the island and hold live-fire drills in response.