At a conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the island of Taiwan belongs to China and asked “why did that old woman to go to Taiwan,” referencing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island earlier this year. Putin’s remarks come as he has sought closer ties with China and made efforts to change the current Western-dominated geopolitical world order.
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Putin spoke at a conference on Thursday hosted by the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think tank. As his conference-remarks stretched on into the three-hour mark, Putin said “Taiwan is indubitably an inherent part of the People’s Republic of China and this is the position we’ve always adhered to.”
While Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, China has long considered the island a part of its territory and has vowed to “reunify” with the island, by military force if necessary.
Putin’s remarks come as Russia and China have grown closer together diplomatically amid strained relations with the U.S. and other Western nations.
Putin went on to say “all provocative gestures, such as the visits to Taiwan by the U.S.’s highest dignitaries are seen in Russia as nothing but a provocation.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan this summer, becoming the first house speaker to visit the island in 25 years. In response to her visit, China canceled talks on military issues with the U.S. and held military drills around the island.
Putin appeared to reference Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, saying, “why did that old woman have to go to Taiwan, provoking China to respond.”
Pelosi is 82 years old.
During his comments, Putin criticized the U.S. and other Western nations for simultaneously straining relations with both Russia and China.
“You see this strategy in Ukraine. The whole West has pounced on us, trying to bring down our economy, funneling millions of dollars in arms in Ukraine fighting Russian,” Putin said, referencing the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “So why sour their relations with China at the same time. I think no matter what it’s against all common sense.”
Putin said he does not think Western leaders have made any careful calculations by straining relations with both Russia and China.
“Some might think there was some calculation but I think it was not calculated at all,” he said. “All there is to it is arrogance and also a sense of impunity. This is what underlies such irrational actions.”