By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Northern Missouri Congressman Sam Graves says he’s pleased House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan despite threats issued by China if she visited the island.
Graves says the Speaker, a Democrat, really had no choice but to visit Taiwan after China made the threats.
“We can’t back down from supporting Taiwan,” Graves tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post. “They are an ally of ours and China, when they make threats like that, it’s just absolutely wrong. So, I do support Speaker Pelosi and her trip over there and I’m glad she decided to continue that and to make it happen. It’s important to show strength.”
Graves is a Republican serving on the House Armed Services Committee who considers Taiwan a sovereign state. China claims Taiwan as its own.
Graves says the United States must stand behind Taiwan and not give in to China’s threats.
“This is China flexing its muscle,” Graves says. “They want Taiwan back. They want them to be a part of China. It’s kind of like what is happening in Russia right now, trying to pull Ukraine back.”
Is he worried about China threatening retaliation if Pelosi followed through with her visit to Taiwan?
“We always worry about it, but we can’t back down from threats like this,” according to Graves. “We just can’t back down from them. It shows too much weakness in the United States.”
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China, which quickly announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in retaliation for her presence.
Pelosi arrived aboard a U.S. Air Force passenger jet and was greeted on the tarmac at Taipei’s international airport by Taiwan’s foreign minister and other Taiwanese and American officials. She posed for photos before her motorcade whisked her unseen into the parking garage of her hotel.
Pelosi says she and other members of Congress in her delegation showed they will not abandon their commitment to the self-governing island. China claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments.
Pelosi met with Taiwanese leaders on Wednesday. Beijing issued threats against her visit and announced military exercises, including live-fire exercises in the waters and skies surrounding Taiwan, after her arrival.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.