In an interview Tuesday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended her recent visit to Taiwan and said China reacted negatively to the visit because Chinese leader Xi Jinping is a “scared bully.”
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show with host Joe Scarborough, Pelosi said her visit to Taiwan “was worth it” despite China responding with threats and military drills around the island. Pelosi said, “What the Chinese are doing is what they usually do.”
Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, but China considers the island a part of its territory. China called Pelosi’s visit to the island last week a violation of its sovereignty and Chinese military forces launched a variety of military live-fire drills around the island in response.
In her first interview since returning, Pelosi attributed China’s reaction to her visit in part to Xi distracting from internal problems in China.
Pelosi said Xi “has his own insecurities,” adding that he is “in a fragile place.”
“He has problems with his economy,” she continued. “He is acting like a scared bully.”
Pelosi also said the bullying is because Xi is focused on getting re-elected.
Despite the raised tensions between the U.S. and China over her visit, Pelosi defended her decision to go to Taiwan. She said she received “overwhelming bipartisan support” for the visit and noted that a recent visit by sitting U.S. senators had not drawn as negative a response from China.
“It was bipartisan, it was high-powered, including the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee — nobody said a word,” Pelosi said. “If they can ignore a trip of five senators in a bipartisan way, why would they decide on my trip, that it would be different. . . . There’s something wrong with this picture.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Burr (R-NC), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Rob Portman (R-OH), as well as Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), visited Taiwan in April. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian condemned the visit and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) did hold military drills near the island during the visit.
Pelosi’s Taiwan visit had some added significance as it was the first time in 25 years that a sitting House Speaker visited the island.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “The countermeasures taken by China in response to Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan are justified, reasonable and lawful. They are aimed at sending a warning to the provocateurs and punishing the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.”
“There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China,” Wang added. “The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the entire China. This is the real fact and status quo across the Taiwan Strait.”