House Speaker Nancy Pelosi published a powerful essay on Tuesday after she landed in Taiwan for a historic visit, saying what the Biden administration refused to say one day earlier.
Pelosi became on Tuesday the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in more than 25 years. She did so in defiance of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
What did the Biden admin say?
At the White House press briefing on Monday, National Security Council coordinator John Kirby reassured the world the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan's independence.
"The world has seen the United States government be very clear that nothing has changed — nothing has changed — about our One China policy," Kirby said.
"We have said — and we have repeatedly said — that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We have said that we do not support Taiwan independence," Kirby added.
But what did Pelosi write?
While official U.S. policy may mandate that Washington not recognize Taiwan's independence, Pelosi sent a loud-and-clear message in the pages of the Washington Post after landing in Taiwan on Tuesday.
The California Democrat described Taiwan as "a leader in governance" and "a leader in peace, security and economic dynamism" — and stated unequivocally that America "must stand by Taiwan."
Noting that Beijing has increased its aggression toward Taiwan in recent years, Pelosi said that her visit "should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom."
Pelosi was even explicit about the Chinese Communist Party's abuses of power and startling human rights abuses:
The CCP’s brutal crackdown against Hong Kong’s political freedoms and human rights — even arresting Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen — cast the promises of 'one-country, two-systems' into the dustbin. In Tibet, the CCP has long led a campaign to erase the Tibetan people’s language, culture, religion and identity. In Xinjiang, Beijing is perpetrating genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities. And throughout the mainland, the CCP continues to target and arrest activists, religious-freedom leaders and others who dare to defy the regime.
"We cannot stand by as the CCP proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself," she said.
After touchdown, more than two dozen Senate Republicans released a statement expressing support for Pelosi's trip, which have since been removed from Twitter.
Editor's Note: This story originally stated that Kirby is the Pentagon spokesman; he is not. In May, Kirby left that position and joined the National Security Council as coordinator for strategic communications. We regret the error.