US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the United States will "not allow" China to isolate Taiwan, after her visit to the self-ruled island infuriated Beijing. China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory, launched its largest-ever military exercises around the island after Pelosi defied stern threats to become the highest-profile US official to set foot on Taiwanese soil in years.
Now in Tokyo on the final leg of her Asian tour, Pelosi did not comment directly on the drills but argued that American politicians should be able to travel to Taiwan freely. "They may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there," she told reporters.
"We will not allow them to isolate Taiwan," she said, listing lower-level US visits to the island and reiterating that her trip was "not about changing the status quo" in the region. "It is about... all of the pieces of legislation and agreements that have established what our relationship is. To have peace in the Taiwan Strait and have the status quo prevail."
When asked if the trip was more about her own legacy than benefiting Taiwan, Pelosi replied: "This isn't about me -- it's about them." She called the island "one of the freest countries in the world" and "a great democracy with a thriving economy", saying she was "proud" of her work showcasing concerns related to mainland China, from alleged trade violations and arms proliferation to human rights.