United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid a brief but historic visit to Taiwan this week, a move which was not well received by officials in Beijing.
Canada’s foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly called China out for its actions, and urged the communist nation to de-escalate tensions in the region.
On Wednesday, Joly met with her German counterpart in Montreal to discuss the situation.
Joly explained that the Canadian government is “very preoccupied by the threatening action that China is taking,” citing Beijing’s announcement that military exercises would be conducted in the waters surrounding Taiwan following Pelosi’s visit.
“We call on China to de-escalate because we think that there may be risks of not only heightened tensions, but also destabilizing the region,” she added.
While Pelosi was the first US house speaker to visit Taiwan in twenty-five years, visits by government officials are not uncommon. Joly argued that such events “cannot be used as a justification for heightened tensions or a pretext” for actions that could be viewed as threatening.
Nonetheless, China warned the US that it would be “playing with fire” if Pelosi landed in Taiwan.
Joly joined other G7 foreign ministers in condemning China’s actions. In a written statement published Wednesday, the group reaffirmed their commitment to “maintaining the rules-based international order, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and beyond.”
The ministers cited China’s “live-fire exercises and economic coercion,” as examples of practices that could result in “unnecessary escalation.”
“We call on the PRC not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region,” they added, calling on China “to resolve cross-Strait differences by peaceful means.”
According to CP24, China’s live-fire exercises are believed to be the most extensive efforts aimed at Taiwan since 1995. In response to a visit to the US by then-Taiwanese president Lee Teng-Hui that year, China fired missiles near the island nation.
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