Liz Truss urges China to de-escalate after conducting live fire drills around Taiwan following Pelosi visit

Nancy Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan has been met with backlash from China, with Beijing responding by announcing military exercises around the island

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has criticised China’s “inflammatory” response to a senior US politician’s visit to Taiwan.

Tensions with China have been heightened by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island.

Beijing responded by announcing multiple military exercises around the island, parts of which will enter Taiwanese waters.

Taiwan has been self-governing since nationalist forces fled there in 1949 after the communists took control of China.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss
Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan last night
Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan last night

It is considered to be a rebel province by China, which claims the island as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments.

Ms Truss, speaking on a Conservative Party leadership campaign visit in Ludlow, Shropshire, said: “I do not support China’s inflammatory language on this issue.

“It’s perfectly reasonable what is taking place and I urge China to de-escalate.”

In June, Ms Truss called on Western allies to provide greater support for Taiwan so it can defend itself in the event of an attack from China.

Ms Truss, when asked if this meant providing arms, replied at the time: “There are different ways of doing that, and Finland and Sweden have joined Nato as a way of making sure that they are defended.

“Ultimately, it is making sure that those countries have the capabilities that they need.”

While Russia has said that the level of tension provoked by MS Pelosi's visit to Taiwan "should not be underestimated".

Responding to a question about whether the world was closer to war, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that he was not in favour of using that word but reiterated that the visit was a "provocation".

He added that no additional contacts between President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping were planned in light of the visit.

Ms Truss' rival to become Conservative Party leader, Rishi Sunak, has previously hit out at China.

Mr Sunak has promised to close all 30 of Beijing’s Confucius Institutes in the UK and “kick the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) out of our universities”, declaring China “the biggest-long term threat to Britain”.