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South Korean airlines have canceled all flights to Taiwan as the Chinese military surrounded the island to conduct live-fire exercises Thursday.
Korean Air canceled flights to Taiwan through Saturday, and Asiana Airlines canceled flights through Friday, at which point it will reconsider whether it is necessary, Reuters reported Thursday.
China is holding live-fire military exercises surrounding Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governed island. Pelosi is the highest-level U.S. official to visit there since Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Chinese authorities were furious with her trip, arguing it broke the U.S. one-China policy, which states that the U.S. acknowledges, but does not condone, China’s claim of sovereignty over the island. It also states that the U.S. will not keep formal diplomatic ties with the government of Taiwan.
President Joe Biden’s White House had advised Pelosi to cancel her trip, though the administration sought to distance itself from reports that it had tried to dissuade Pelosi from the visit on Thursday.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby joined America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer on Thursday. Hemmer questioned him regarding the White House’s communications with Pelosi leading up to the trip.
“You would concede that the White House tried to talk her out of it? That was pretty obvious,” Hemmer asked.
“I wouldn’t concede with that,” Kirby responded. “I think we gave her context and information. We gave her an analysis of what it was going to look like, not just in this one stop with all the stops that she’s making on this important trip.”