China cannot stop US officials from visiting Taiwan - Pelosi

Source: Associated Press

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday (local time) that China will not isolate Taiwan by preventing US officials from travelling there.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

She made the remarks in Tokyo on the final leg of an Asia tour highlighted by a visit to Taiwan that infuriated China.

Pelosi and five other members of Congress arrived in Tokyo late Thursday after visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.

READ MORE: Defiant Pelosi leaves Taiwan as China puts on military show

The Chinese have tried to isolate Taiwan, Pelosi said, most recently by preventing the self-governing island from joining the World Health Organisation.

"They may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there," she said.

Pelosi, the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said Wednesday in Taipei that the US commitment to democracy on the island and elsewhere "remains ironclad."

China, which claims Taiwan and has threatened to annex it by force if necessary, called her visit a provocation.

In response, Chinese military drills began on Thursday, including missile strike training, in six zones surrounding Taiwan, in what could be its biggest since the mid-1990s.

Pelosi said that China had launched the "strikes probably using our visit as an excuse."