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Other View: Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit an important stand for democratic values at home and abroad

The remarkable bravery the California congresswoman demonstrated provides an example of how we should respond to such provocations. The U.S. must not be intimidated.

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Speaker of the U.S. House Of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), left, speaks after receiving the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon, Taiwan’s highest civilian honour, from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the president's office on Aug. 3, 2022. in Taipei, Taiwan. Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday as part of a tour of Asia aimed at reassuring allies in the region, as China made it clear that her visit to Taiwan would be seen in a negative light.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to visit Taiwan on Tuesday was controversial and courageous, an important gesture in support of democracy and a rebuke of authoritarian threats from Beijing.

In her stylish pink suit and pearls, the San Francisco Democrat stood with Taiwanese officials leading a democracy that lives under menacing threats from China. The symbolism was powerful.

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“America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement from Taipei.

The young Taiwanese democracy and its progressive people deserve as much. So, too, do proponents of democratic values worldwide, who in recent years have lost ground to authoritarian regimes.

Pelosi herself was targeted by insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021; some sinisterly chanted her name and vandalized her office. Pelosi convened the congressional commission investigating the riots, which may assist in bringing its perpetrators to justice, including former President Donald Trump.

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In a sense, Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan is an extension of her leadership role in safeguarding our republic. Both here and abroad, democracy must be defended and promoted. If the U.S. is willing to stand up for Ukrainian sovereignty in Eastern Europe, we must do the same for democracies in Southeast Asia.

As expected, Pelosi’s visit ignited tensions with Beijing. China’s military announced live-fire operations in nearby waters and promised countermeasures in official statements and state-run media. But the remarkable bravery the California congresswoman demonstrated provides an example of how we should respond to such provocations. The U.S. must not be intimidated.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich experienced similar threats when he led the last congressional delegation to Taiwan in 1997. To bow in the face of such hostility from President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party would cede influence in the region and hinder our ability to conduct diplomacy.

With Democrats becoming the political party most committed to preserving democratic principles, Pelosi’s decision to visit Taiwan this week is a significant international stand for our nation’s most sacred values. It doesn’t hurt that many Americans could also use a reminder of its importance at home.

©2022 The Sacramento Bee
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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