Hong Kong’s top officials, government departments and lawmakers have condemned United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, calling the move “selfish” and a threat to peace in the Taiwan strait.

John Lee Exco Executive council
Chief Executive John Lee. File photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

“Pelosi’s visit is tantamount to encouraging ‘Taiwan independence’ and openly challenges the one-China principle, undermining the stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Chief Executive John Lee said in a statement published minutes before midnight.

The senior US politician arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday evening, following speculation about whether she would make a stop on the island that China considers its own territory.

Chief Secretary Eric Chan said the move “seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and constituted a gross interference in the country’s internal affairs.”

Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen Nancy Pelosi
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks in Taiwan on August 3, 2022. Photo: Simon Liu/Taiwan’s Office of the President.

The Security Bureau, Financial Secretary Paul Chan and Secretary for Justice Paul Lam also issued similarly worded statements condemning the visit.

According to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the local government is not responsible for the city’s foreign affairs. Instead, “the Central People’s Government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

The US maintains a “One China Policy,” whereby it recognises the Chinese government as “the sole legal Government of China” and acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China but maintains unofficial relations with the self-ruled island.

China Hong Kong flag Central Government Offices
Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers began their Asia tour with a trip to Singapore on Monday, and visited Malaysia before arriving in Taiwan. Subsequent stops will include South Korea and Japan.

‘Irresponsible provocations’

A number of government bureaux, among them the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau; the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau; and the Transport and Logistics Bureau, also published statements on Facebook denouncing Pelosi’s Taiwan visit.

“I and all the country’s citizens firmly oppose, seriously condemn, and strongly protest the US [actions],” the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau’s statement read.

CMAB statement Pelosi
The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau’s response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit. Photo: Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, via Facebook.

“We must solemnly reiterate that the world has only one China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing the whole of China.”

The Transport and Logistics Bureau said it “expresses great indignation and condemns the US’s gross interference in China’s internal affairs and irresponsible dirty acts.”

The city’s largest pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), issued a similar statement.

“My country’s government had previously expressed serious concern and firm opposition to the US on multiple occasions, [yet] Pelosi still insists on her mistake and makes irresponsible provocations,” the DAB said.

DAB Pelosi visit
The DAB’s response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit. Photo: DAB, via Facebook.

Pelosi’s visit, the party added, “fully reflects the arrogance of some US politicians and their ugly faces of only seeking selfish political interests.”

Several DAB lawmakers shared the statement on their Facebook pages.

Pro-Beijing parties the Liberal Party, New People’s Party and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions also expressed their condemnation of Pelosi’s visit.

Taiwan Nancy Pelosi
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen presents US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a medal of honour in Taiwan on August 3, 2022. Photo: Simon Liu/Taiwan’s Office of the President.

The politician was presented with a medal of honour by Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday morning, during which Tsai expressed “heartfelt gratitude” to Pelosi for paying “close attention” to Taiwan’s democratic development over the past two decades.

Her stop in Taiwan marks the first time that a House speaker – second in line to the US president – has visited Taiwan in 25 years.

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Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.