US Speaker Nancy Pelosi has defended her historic visit to Taiwan, which sparked Chinese military assault around the island, by calling her presence there a "unequivocal declaration" that America supports the 23 million-strong democracy there.
President Tsai Ing-wen presented Ms. Pelosi with the Order of Propitious Clouds, one of Taiwan's most prestigious awards, at their first-ever face-to-face encounter.
President Tsai greeted US Speaker Pelosi and her powerful congressional delegation on Wednesday, describing Pelosi as "truly one of Taiwan’s most devoted friends."
“We sincerely appreciate you coming to Taiwan to demonstrate the US Congress' unwavering support for Taiwan”, she remarked.
President Tsai highlighted the global interest in Taiwan's security following Russia's invasion of Ukraine during the seldom face-to-face meeting.
"Despite purposefully increased military threats, Taiwan will not yield. We will adamantly defend the democratic line and safeguard the sovereignty of our country, she declared.
She declared, "We would take any necessary steps to improve Taiwan's capacity for self-defense.
Taiwan, the top supplier of computer chips globally, would continue to be a "reliable and trustworthy" partner for the United States, according to Ms. Tsai.
In order to further advance Taiwan-US ties, she added, "we will continue to engage with the US Congress as well as the [Biden] administration to expand cooperation in areas such as Indo-Pacific security, economic development, talent cultivation, and supply chains.
The most senior American representative to visit in 25 years, Ms. Pelosi, accepted the medal "on behalf of the United States Congress."
After accepting the award, she remarked that Democrats and Republicans on both sides of the House and Senate were united in their support for Taiwan.
After Ms. Pelosi, the highest ranking American politician to visit Taipei in 25 years, arrived late on Wednesday evening, Beijing announced missile launches and military drills in six zones bordering Taiwan.
In response to Nancy Pelosi's "egregious" visit, which Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng described as "very cruel and the outcome is very grave," Nicholas Burns, the US ambassador to Beijing, was summoned to China's foreign ministry for reprimand.
The US Navy officer also confirmed claims from the United States Naval Institute (USNI), a professional organization with close ties to the Navy, that the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli was operating east of Taiwan.
Both the Tripoli and the Ronald Reagan are carriers for the F-35 fighter planes of the most recent generation.
Being the highest-ranking elected US official to visit the island since her predecessor Newt Gingrich visited in 1997, Pelosi's visit has prompted US officials to reassure Beijing that the placement of these two ships in the area is unrelated to Pelosi's visit.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Washington would make sure Pelosi had a “safe and secure visit.”