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Wong urges calm as Pelosi Taiwan visit irks China



US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (centre) greeted by Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (left)

Foreign Minister Penny Wong is calling for calm after Chinese warplanes buzzed the Taiwan Strait ahead of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's arrival in Taipei.


Foreign Minister Penny Wong has called for a de-escalation of tensions between Beijing and Washington after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan.


China has condemned the visit by Ms Pelosi, saying it's a threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.


She is the highest-level US official to visit to Taiwan in 25 years, but the trip has led to the Chinese military being put on high alert.


Senator Wong called for calm on national radio on Wednesday morning:

"All parties should consider how they best contribute to de-escalating the current tensions, and we all want peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
"We do have a situation where we see rhetoric increasing and we see military hardware being deployed."

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring it under its control whereas Taiwan has long maintained its case for independence.


Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait before Ms Pelosi's arrival in Taipei and Chinese state media said the People's Liberation Army would hold exercises near Taiwan from Thursday through Sunday.


The US has warned China against using Ms Pelosi's visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.


Senator Wong said the situation was "very concerning", particularly those living in Taiwan.


The foreign minister reiterated Australia's support for a one China policy, where Taiwan is not recognised as a country and that the government in Beijing is the only Chinese government:

"Australia has a bipartisan one China policy, and we have a bipartisan of that, discouraging unilateral changes to the status quo.
"We should continue with others in the region to urge the maintenance of peace and stability in the region."

Ms Pelosi, second in the line of succession to the US presidency, is a longtime China critic.


Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen will meet Ms Pelosi on Wednesday morning and then the pair will have lunch together.


China views visits by US officials to Taiwan as encouraging the island's pro-independence stance.