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Pelosi Defies China Threats And Lands In Taiwan; First Grain Ship To Leave Ukraine Anchors Off Turkish Coast; U.S. Sanctions Putin's Reputed Girlfriend. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 03, 2022 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN. Thank you for joining us. Ahead this hour, Nancy Pelosi goes to Taiwan, a high profile and brazen show support for the self-ruled island. Beijing response with live fire military exercises.

Also ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're walking through the trees because they're afraid that we might be spotted from above by Russian drones.


VAUSE: The battles for the skies above Ukraine could be decisive in the outcome of Ukraine's war with Russia. And one-on-one with football star Alessia Russo on the feeling of being a triumphant for England, and now legendary kick that change the course of the championship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: The Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi has been on the ground in Taiwan for just over 14 hours. That's long enough for an outrage Beijing to announce a series of live fire military drills in the region and for Pelosi to receive Taiwan's highest civilian honor for her decades of support for the self-ruled island.

She is now the most senior U.S. official to visit Taiwan and 25 years short time ago meeting with Taiwan's president. Earlier, the U.S. House Speaker said her visit with a congressional delegation was intended to make it unequivocally clear, the U.S. will not abandon its commitment to Taiwan.


NANCY PELOSI, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: While China has stood in the way of Taiwan participating, and going to certain meetings, that they understand that they will not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan.

I think it's important to note that members of Congress, several of them have made trips just earlier this year. I think that they made a big fuss because I'm Speaker, I guess, I don't know if that was a reason or an excuse because they didn't say anything when the man came.


VAUSE: It is that unequivocal support which has angered Beijing, which considers Taiwan to be a renegade province and to protest Pelosi's visit. China places military on high alert and has ordered multiple military exercises around the region essentially is circling Taiwan.

CNN correspondents tracking all these developments we have our Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang sending you live in Beijing. We also have Blake Essig who is live for us in Tokyo this hour.

And I guess for you, Blake, we'll start with you. This is I guess what, 14 hours long into this trip. Pelosi has been quite the statement already. What comes next?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late last night despite warnings from the White House and in defiance really of China. She was welcomed by a building lit up with her name on it and hundreds of people who gathered outside of her hotel some happy that she was there visiting others there to protest.

Now once on the ground the Speaker and her delegation of Democratic lawmakers issued a statement saying that America solidarity with the peoples of Taiwan is more important today than ever before as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy after staying the night in Taiwan. Pelosi met with senior government officials in the Democratic self-governing island's President sign went out during a speech.

Taiwan's President thanked the speaker for being one of Taiwan's most devoted supporters. And here's what the two leaders had to say about future cooperation.


TSAI ING-WEN, TAIWAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will firmly uphold our nation's sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy. At the same time, we wish to cooperate and work in unity with all democracies around the world to jointly safeguard democratic values.

PELOSI: Today, our delegation, which I'm very proud, came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear, we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan, and we are proud of our enduring friendship.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ESSIG: Pelosi also visited Parliament although she didn't deliver a formal speech. She did give remarks alongside the deputy speaker of Taiwan's legislature praising Taiwan is one of the freest societies in the world. As for China's live fire military exercises surrounding Taiwan, which were announced less than an hour after the Speaker have landed on the Island.


Taiwan's defense ministry has condemned those drills saying that they undermine regional peace and stability. And John to answer your question, well, Pelosi and her delegation are expected to leave Taiwan later this evening. The tensions on both sides of the Taiwan Strait only seem to be intensifying as a result of her visit.

VAUSE: That is true, it seems. Blake, thank you. Let's go to Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang. So Steven, Beijing knows how the U.S. works. They know that the U.S. president cannot order the Speaker of the House to stay and not go for a trip to Taiwan. They know all of this, which is why it seems perhaps that maybe all the threats in the bellicose language or just a bit of kabuki theater at the end of the day.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Remember, this is also not a first time a sitting U.S. House Speaker to visit Taiwan. The last time it happened was 25 years ago when Newt Gingrich went there, but I think what's really changed between then and now is Beijing's calculations of its own strength.

Now they have upgraded missile capabilities to strike aircraft carriers. They now have their own aircraft carriers. That's why we've seen these increasingly frequent incursions into Taiwan's air defense zone, and their increasingly hardline policy towards Taiwan.

But what's interesting here is still, these live fire drills you guys just mentioned, for example, they weren't announced right after Pelosi's plane landed in Taiwan. But originally, they were supposed to start on Thursday after Pelosi is expected departure.

But amid this growing backlash online against their governments perceive the lackluster response because of all the firing rhetoric we had heard beforehand, the military here seems to have pushed the starting day forward by having a second announcement to say now they will start almost immediately involving not only firing off conventional missiles, but also shooting down hypothetical air and land targets, not to mention practicing a blockade. That's why they've been describing these drills as unprecedented in terms of their proximity to Taiwan, but also their scale and intensity.

And then of course, we've also seen Beijing imposed political and probably more importantly, economic sanctions against Taiwan by halting the export of natural sand to the island, for example, that's something apparently very important to the semiconductor industry, which of course, is critically important to Taiwan, but also banning the import of more than 100 Taiwanese seafood and the fruits, all of this not surprising. But what's interesting is now we're starting to see some media here, seemingly and trying to temper down public expectations of the Chinese response, saying things like a complex historical issue like Taiwan simply cannot be resolved overnight. And how Chinese retaliation against Taiwan and the U.S. would not be one off but long term, but also things like China is actually exercised restraint in their words, to give peaceful reunification one last chance.

But one thing for sure, John, is all of this is in a way, come at a good time for Chinese leader Xi Jinping as he has entered a very, very important meeting to be coronated, if you will, for a third term amid a lot of domestic challenges because one thing we have seen since last night is 1.4 billion people at least if you believe Chinese social media rallying behind him on this said very much a unifying cause. John.

VAUSE: Makes you wonder what happens we'll talk about playing with fire and getting burned. Steven, thank you, Steven Jiang in Beijing, Blake there in Tokyo. Appreciate that. Thank you both.

Nancy Pelosi is often considered a divisive figure in U.S. politics, but her visit to Taiwan has received bipartisan praise, even from the Senate Minority Leader, a man who Pelosi described as not a force for good.

Mitch McConnell and 25 other Republican senators welcomed Pelosi's display of support for Taiwan's democracy and that she had every right to go. He also said White House efforts to convince her not to work counterproductive.

Meantime, the Biden administration now warning China not to escalate its response to the Speaker's visit, and says U.S. will be closely watching long after Pelosi leaves.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NSC COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: The United States will not and does not will not seek and does not want a crisis. We are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do.

At the same time, we will not engage in saber rattling. We will continue to operate in the seas and the skies of the Western Pacific as we have done for decades. We will continue to support Taiwan defend a free and open Indo Pacific and seek to maintain communication with Beijing.


VAUSE: Shihoko Goto is the Deputy Director for the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. She's also director for Geo-Economics and Indo Pacific Enterprise. She's with us from Tokyo. Thank you for your time.


VAUSE: OK. So the White House continues to insist that Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taipei visit there does not represent any significant change or any change at all really to U.S. policy towards Taiwan. Listen to this.


KIRBY: There's no reason as I said yesterday for Beijing to turn this visit which is consistent with long standing U.S. policy See under some sort of crisis.



VAUSE: But, you know, if U.S. policy hasn't changed, it certainly is confused. President Biden has suggested at least three times us would defend Taiwan if it was attacked. The Trump administration ended a ban on U.S. diplomats interacting with Taiwanese diplomats, that has not been reversed by Biden. U.S. policy seems to be sort of changing or very confused or changing in real time before our eyes.

GOTO: Right. I think there's -- it's less of a change and more of a splintering within the United States that you did mention that the White House is saying that there is no real change in America's policy towards Taiwan. But at the same time, we have to bear in mind that at the forefront of this is the adherence to the One China policy to declare that Taiwan is actually under the auspices under the control of China, that is something that the United States has chosen.

And it is something that requires a lot of diplomatic interpretation and in this relationship words matter. And the cross strait (ph) relations have always been tense as a result of this lack of clarity. We call it strategic ambiguity, a deliberate reworking of the red line as to what is acceptable behavior and not.

What Speaker Pelosi has done is actually pushed the line to an extent. And at the same time, what we do know if that China still sees Taiwan as a core interest that sooner or probably more hopefully, later, that China does want to reunify with Taiwan, and this is something that not just the Xi administration, but all Chinese leadership's have really adhered to, to date.

VAUSE: How much of this is all about extending the Trump era policy of using Taiwan as a way of constraining China or mainland China?

GOTO: Right, that is one of the biggest challenges that Taiwan faces itself. So we have Pelosi in Taiwan, she's going to be leaving in a few hours time. We have, of course, seen a lot of military tension and military exercises on the part of China. But hopefully, it won't escalate further, while she's actually on the ground in Taiwan.

But we're playing the long game here. For Taiwan, it is very much at the risk of becoming under increasing pressure from China. We've already seen the economic sanctions, cyber-attacks to that have come hours before Pelosi landed in Taiwan. Will this continue even after she departs? The expectation is, again, well, yes. And will they intensify? Yes. And that will be very detrimental to a Taiwan's economic and military security. And this is where the United States needs to make clear that it is committed to the safety and security of Taiwan in the longer term. And it will not veer from that.

VAUSE: Well, once she was on the ground, Nancy Pelosi made it clear why she made the visit. Here she is.


PELOSI: We commend Taiwan for being one of the freest societies in the world for your success in addressing the COVID interest issue, which is a health issue, a security issue, an economic issue, and a governance issue. We congratulate you for that. And again, we come in friendship, we thank you for your leadership, we want the world to recognize that.


VAUSE: Was their way of making that gesture or delivering that message without risking a reaction from Beijing that could potentially spark World War III?

GOTO: I think at this stage when she said she was going to Taiwan, that was already raising tensions between the United States and Washington. I think that once she declared that she was going for her to back down was no longer going to be an option.

But the best case scenario from here on out, is to make sure that the situation she -- that there is no real escalation of actual action on the part of China, and then that does not actually extend further even after she departs.

But again, what we do need now is a greater coherence on the part of the United States in defining its own Taiwan policy, and your continued commitment to support Taiwan in the longer term.

VAUSE: Shihoko, thanks so much for being with us.

The first wartime shipment of Ukrainian grain for the port of Odesa has now reached Turkey. Right now the ship is anchored in Istanbul with inspections, inspected to the end next couple of hours.


After that the final destination is Tripoli in Lebanon. And if all goes to plan that should clear the way for at least 16 other cargo ships stuck at Ukrainian ports since the war began to load up and set sail. All of this made possible by a landmark deal which ended a Russian naval blockade in the Black Sea, allowing grain exports to resume and that's raising hopes of easing a global food shortage.

Ukrainian fighters in the south are stepping up attacks on Russian positions. Military officials say Russian weapons and equipment depot was hit as well as a military base near the city of Kherson which is under Russian occupation. Meantime, the southern city of Mykolaiv remains under heavy attack within the last few hours. The city's mayor reported a series of powerful explosions likely from airstrikes and rescue operations he says are underway.

Ukrainian officials say this video shows the aftermath of a Russian strike on an infrastructure facility on Tuesday. And to the east Ukraine says Russian forces had some success advancing via a key city in the Donetsk region. It is not the address Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his troops are still outgunned despite recent weapons shipments from the west.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We cannot overcome yet the advantage of the Russian army has in artillery and troop numbers. And this is very much felt in combat, especially in the Donbas. It is just hell there, words cannot describe it.


VAUSE: Is an ongoing battle in the skies above Ukraine which could ultimately decide the outcome of the war. CNN's Nic Robertson reports on the critical role played by drones.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): At Ukraine Southern Front, a reconnaissance team leads us towards rational lines.

(on camera): We're walking through the trees because they're afraid that we might be spotted from above by Russian drones. That's the way they do their work out here hidden by the trees.

(voice-over): Our destination, a drone team shrouded from the skies. Their mission find Russian forces and call in artillery strikes. A problem though, on their first flight of the day, Russian countermeasures mess with their drone. They need to switch out parts before the next launch.

It's nearly impossible to fight off the Russian jamming signal, the commander says, that we have special devices to combat it.

But as the drone launches, it lurches the wrong way hits the trees, not clear what causes the malfunction.

(on camera): There's a war within the war here a high tech war, a software dogfight in the skies above the battlefield. And a mistake by these drone operators can cost them their lives.

(voice-over): Back at base on a big screen, they scour the first flights video.

(on camera): The details incredible. I mean, you can see exactly where the vehicles are in the trees. (voice-over): The operator a 24-year-old former news cameraman.

(on camera): So you're looking at the Russians, but they can be looking at you when you're in the field.


ROBERTSON: How does that feel?


ROBERTSON: How scary.


ROBERTSON: Very scary. But you keep doing it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, because we must do it.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Life or death decisions, which targets to hit to save his fellow countrymen.

(on camera): His driving along he has no idea your drone is following him.



(voice-over): Previous days when they've avoided Russian countermeasures they've had better luck, a Russian tank position hit in the past week, when they called in an artillery strike as they watched. Who wins these drone wars will help determine who dominates the battle space. And that depends on who has the smartest technology and who has the best traditional frontline skills to hide from it. Nic Robertson, CNN, at Ukraine's Southern Front.


VAUSE: The woman reportedly Vladimir Putin early reputed girlfriend is now under U.S. sanctions. Alina Kabaeva currently heads Russia's national media group described by the U.S. as a pro Kremlin empire of TV, print and radio groups. She's 39-year-old but it was sanctioned for being or having been a leader of the Russian government. She's also been sanctioned by the UK and the European Union. She's probably was a skater there for a while.

Still ahead, new images of the safe house hit by U.S. drone killing al Qaeda leader. Ayman al-Zawahiri plus details of the super secret missile that took out the terror target pieces.

Plus, France gearing up to face another heatwave a live report from the CNN Weather Center. Maybe it'll be live, it will be the moment.



VAUSE: More than 20 years ago, when the U.S. military was trying to flush Osama bin Laden from the mountainous caves of Tora Bora, they were dropping Daisy cutters, also known as MOAB, a mother of all bombs, more than 21,000 pounds of explosives the largest non-nuclear bomb the U.S. has ever used.

Over the weekend his deputy al Qaeda and al Qaeda leader Ayman al- Zawahiri was killed by a U.S. drone. It was a laser guided precision strike. No explosive warheads, no collateral damage. Just one dead. CNN's Alex Marquardt has our report.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): New revelations into the counterterrorism operation that killed the world's most wanted terrorist. Smoke billowing over Kabul following the pinpoint strike on Ayman al-Zawahiri's house. The windows of that that house blown out but the structure intact, evidence of the care that was taken to avoid collateral damage for clarity.

Aside from Zawahiri, U.S. officials say no one was hurt or killed. The BBC visited the house now draped in a green covering. The Al Qaeda leader, the White House said was killed on the third floor balcony.

KIRBY: In this case we use an unmanned aerial vehicle with missiles obviously, and two of those missiles were fired at Mr. Zawahiri while he was outside on that third floor balcony. The President made it very clear when he made the decision. But he wanted to make sure we avoided civilian casualties. And we know we did.

MARQUARDT: Visual and other kinds of intelligence confirmed that the White House's John Kirby said, but there is no DNA evidence of Zawahiri's death. The intelligence gathering and planning took place for most of the year. This Situation Room meeting with top national security officials was in early July, when President Biden was shown a model of Zawahiri's building.

Confidence had grown that the al Qaeda leader who had a $25 million bounty on his head had moved into downtown Kabul with his family. He never left the House officials say but his family's movements were tracked, and he was spotted on the balcony, where he was eventually killed early Sunday morning Kabul time, with two missiles launched by a drone overhead known as Hellfires, a U.S. made air to ground missile that allows for precision strikes.

Zawahiri's last recorded message was just three weeks ago. He had become more of a spiritual figurehead than an operational leader of al Qaeda. But his presence in the Afghan capital is evidence the U.S. says the Taliban reneging on the deal known as the Doha agreement that they would not harbor terrorists in Afghanistan. JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There were senior members of the Haqqani Network, who are affiliated with the Taliban who did know that Zawahiri was in Kabul. There may have been other members of the Taliban who did not know. We have already been engaged with the Taliban. And I'm not going to preview any further actions that we will take to ensure that the Taliban lives up to its commitments.

MARQUARDT: The Taliban has condemned the strike, but the Biden administration immediately held it up as proof that terrorists can effectively be targeted inside Afghanistan with no U.S. boots on the ground.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: If you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.

MARQUARDT (on camera): There's no doubt this was a sophisticated well executed strike. But it does remain to be seen whether this over the horizon capability as it's known, striking from outside Afghanistan can be scaled up and replicated against terrorists who may be less prominent and live in more remote areas.

As for who may be the successor to Ayman al-Zawahiri at the top of al Qaeda, experts believe that the leading candidate is a fellow Egyptians named Safal Adal (ph). He is believed to have been living in Iran. He has been on the FBI Most Wanted terrorists list for years, and there is a reward for up to $10 million for information on him. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: CNN military analyst and retired US Air Force, Colonel Cedric Leighton is with us now for more on the possible ramifications of this targeted killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Colonel, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: Thank you. John Kirby with U.S. National Security Council wasn't quite spiking the football on Tuesday, it seemed pretty close. Here he is.


KIRBY: This action demonstrates that without American forces on the ground in Afghanistan and in harm's way, we still remain able to identify and locate even the world's most wanted terrorist, and then take the action to remove him from the battlefield.


VAUSE: Should he have had two very important words at the end those words being this time? Because not every situation will be like Zawahiri who essentially was hiding in plain sight.

LEIGHTON: Yes, exactly. I think the key thing is that every situation like this is going to be different. The raid that ended up killing bin Laden was quite different from the raid that ended up killing al- Zawahiri. And we have to keep it in mind that every single one of these incidents has a different terrain associated with it, a different way of living for the people that are being targeted, and in many cases, sometimes even different technical mechanisms that are being used to target these individuals.

So sometimes those mechanisms work. Sometimes they don't. In this case, with al-Zawahiri they work beautifully. But that's not always going to be the case. We have to be prepared for failures.

VAUSE: And all that, talk about the missile of choice here. Reporting to the R9X modified hellfire, no explosive warhead, but rather six razor sharp blades, how does this work?

LEIGHTON: So John, this is a type of modified Hellfire that's designed to protect the infrastructure. What we're dealing with here is a, you know, going after a specific target without killing civilians that are near that target without destroying the structures, without doing anything that would damage the infrastructure that surrounded the particular target.

On the American way of war, we are -- we've modified it to the extent that we're trying to get after specific individuals. And in this particular case, this weapon system was the one that was chosen. And it worked very well, in order to get into al-Zawahiri without damaging his family without damaging the building that he was in. And those blades that you mentioned are basically designed to do that job without the collateral damage of an explosive device.

VAUSE: Essentially cutting, slicing the target into pieces, I think, is what is described to me, right?

LEIGHTON: That is correct. Yes, it slices the target without that high explosive impact that you would see with a normal explosive warhead. And that's why these systems are used in these particular situations.

VAUSE: Fitting in some may say. Now, Zawahiri would not have been living in Kabul without approval from al Qaeda's best friend, that's the Taliban. That point, this review from the U.S. State Department by hosting and sheltering the leader of al Qaeda in Kabul detail, they grossly violated the Doha agreement and repeated assurances to the world they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries.

But, you know, they also lied about girls going back to school or being allowed to work, they lied when they said they were open to reform. At this point, the fact they lied, again, is not surprising. It's not shocking. It is sickening. Will there be consequences?

LEIGHTON: I think there will be, John. I think what we're looking at here is that, you know, there might be internal consequences within the Taliban itself. But there also are going to be consequences internationally for them. The fact that they have violated the Doha Agreement so profoundly, and so brazenly really creates the impact for them that they're not going to be trusted by other parties, including parties in the region, whether it's India or Pakistan, or other countries in the area, and that is going to make a difference for them.

It's going to make it a lot harder for the Taliban to have international relations to save their people from a possible famine and also it's going to really make it very difficult for them to govern the country.


VAUSE: Yes and in the wake of al-Zawahiri's death, there is this warning from the United States. The Department of State believes there is a high potential for anti-American violence, given the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri an July 31st, 2022.

There is an expectation that al-Qaeda and supporters may try something. But what about the Taliban? And you mentioned this precision strike has left them looking pretty helpless and are unable to provide security in their own backyard.

Will they become more radicalized -- will they sort of take a harder line, if you like?

LEIGHTON: That is certainly a possibility. I think, you know, in many ways they will feel insulted. They will feel emasculated by this situation. And the very fact that it happened will create a situation where they feel they will have to execute some kind of a plan of revenge.

The problem that they have is that they really don't have an external infrastructure. They used al-Qaeda as their weapon of choice in foreign territories and territories outside of Afghanistan.

And that may be the weapon that they used in their recruitment that they used to go after western interests, especially U.S. interests. But it's going to take a long time for al-Qaeda to rebuild itself. It's also going to take a while for the Taliban to reestablish its connection with al-Qaeda in the sense that it can use them operationally.

VAUSE: Overall, a good day for the most part. Colonel, thank you so much.

LEIGHTON: You bet, John. Good to be with you.

VAUSE: Coming up here next on CNN, why Taiwan is such a flash point for the communists in Beijing. And why Nancy Pelosi's visit -- well, it's complicated.


VAUSE: Welcome back everyone. I'm John Vause, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

More now on our top story this hour. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has met with Taiwan's president as well as lawmakers, defying threats from Beijing.

She's the most senior American official to visit the self-governing island in 25 years. Taiwan's president thanked Pelosi for her rock- solid support and awarded her Taiwan's highest civilian honor.

Pelosi praised Taiwan's democracy as one of the freest societies in the world.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HGOUSE: Today, the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy. America's determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad. And we are grateful to the partnership of the people of Taiwan in this mission.



VAUSE: Mainland China welcomed Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan with live fire military exercises as she touched down. Taiwan's defense ministry says the drills are tantamount to a, quote, "maritime and aerial blockade, violating the self-governing island's territorial waters and endangering regional security," unquote.

And as CNN's Will Ripley reports, Speaker Pelosi received a mixed reception once she touched down in Taipei. Many grateful for her years of support while others accusing her of raising tensions with Beijing.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A resounding show of American support for Taiwan in the face of escalating threats from China. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, delivering a defiant message to lawmakers in Taipei.

PELOSI: Today, our delegation of which I'm very proud, came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan. And we are proud of our enduring friendship.

RIPLEY: Pelosi's plane took a three hour detour on the way to Taiwan Tuesday, appearing to avoid the heavily militarized South China Sea.

Shortly after Pelosi's arrival, China announced six military drills near the island, some just miles from the Taiwanese coast, a provocation condemned by the defense ministry in Taipei, calling it an attempt to threaten key ports and urban areas.

As Pelosi's convoy arrived at her Taipei hotel, a heavy police presence, two groups of protesters gathered outside. Some welcomed Pelosi's support for Taiwan. JERRY LIU, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, NEW POWER PARTY: Speaker

of House is Nancy Pelosi have been supporting Taiwan for decades. And it very important for me as a Taiwanese to be here tonight to welcome her.

RIPLEY: Others accuse her of escalating tensions.

MISS HUANG, DOES NOT SUPPORT PELOSI'S TAIWAN VISIT (through translator): Right now, Pelosi and the United States are treating Taiwan as a chess piece. When she lands in Taiwan, Mainland China will retaliate using their own methods.

RIPLEY: China's foreign ministry spokesman calling Pelosi's stop in Taiwan a serious violation of the one-China principle that will have a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations. Taiwan says cyberattacks knocked some government Web sites off line.

Beijing calls Taiwan a breakaway province of China. They refused to recognize Taiwan's democratically-elected government. Taiwan says, China has sent more than 20 warplanes in the island's air defense zone Tuesday, part of what Taiwan calls an ongoing campaign of bullying by Beijing.

Near Pelosi's hotel, the islands tallest building lit up with a message of gratitude for a defiant show of support from one of America's most powerful politicians.

Will Ripley -- CNN, Taiwan.


VAUSE: Clayton Dube is director of the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California. He's with us this hour from Los Angeles. And it's good to see you.


VAUSE: It's been a while. Thank you for coming in.

Ok. So the best way to understand why this story is such a big deal is no matter how we reach the point where the Peoples Republic of China -- also known as Mainland China -- claims sovereignty over the island of Taiwan which is also known as the Republic of China, which claims sovereignty over all of Mainland China.

So, in 25 words or less, a complete history of China-Taiwanese relations, or why it matters. Over to you.

DUBE: Well, the relationship definitely matters. The contentions associated with it definitely matter. It has been highlighted in every discussion between mainland Chinese leaders and the United States, going back to before Nixon. And so it matters. That's definitely the case.

But the point about Taiwan's history is significant. Because it has a unique history. It was occupied by Japan for 50 years. After World War II it was occupied by the Guomindang who subsequently lost the civil war, and retreated to Taiwan and governed it as a martial state for many years until the late 1980s, when Taiwan opened up and democratized.

VAUSE: Yes, it is a difficult, complicated history But it's one which is important to know. BECAUSE We keep hearing these words -- from Beijing -- about defending China's sovereign territory. We hear them once again from the ministry of foreign affairs. Listen to this.


HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE ASSISTANT FOREIGN MINISTER: The United States should abandon any attempt to play the Taiwan card, matches promises with concrete actions, abide by the one-China principle to the letter, and implement the three China-U.S. joint communiques

If the U.S. side clings obstinately to a wrong, it should be responsible for all serious consequences arising therefrom.


VAUSE: And this is the stuff that's important. Because over the years Beijing and Washington have signed a number of deals or communiques.

In August 1982, the U.S. declared that it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty or territorial integrity or interfering in China's internal affairs.


VAUSE: Ten years before that, Washington recognized there is but one China, and that Taiwan is part of China. Adding that China will settle their own affairs but with no internal interference by the United States.

So my question is, is Pelosi in violation of those communiques? If not the letter, then perhaps the spirit?

DUBE: No. She is not in violation of the communiques.

In the communiques, the United States acknowledged that, first of all, that Taiwan was a part of China and there was only one China.

But the United States also said that it intended to maintain relations with Taiwan. And those relations are multi-threaded and have actually grown over the years. And as a consequence, that has proven difficult for Beijing to accept, particularly as Taiwan has changed.

So, the United States doesn't acknowledge -- doesn't recognize -- Taiwan as an independent nation. But it accords Taiwan and the people of Taiwan status similar to what those of an independent nation would receive.

People with Taiwanese passports can visit the United States without a visa. That's not possible for people from Beijing. VAUSE: This is the fourth time China and the U.S. have clashed over

Taiwan. Clashed during the 1950s, then again in 1995. And the incident in 1995 -- which bears no similarity [inaudible] Pelosi's visit. Back in 1995, Taiwan's president was granted a visa to visit his old alma mater. Another state visit that the White House posted anyway. Congress passed a resolution which force the Clinton administration to issue a visa.

What came next? China conducted military drills similar to what we are seeing. As cruisers and missiles over Taipei. But back then, two U.S. carrier battle groups were sent to the Taiwan Strait and that was enough show of force for Beijing to back down. Something like that won't be this time.

DUBE: Well, certainly China's military capacity has expanded dramatically. And the United States has asserted its right to pass through the Taiwan Strait with its military vessels.

And that -- that really, really upsets Beijing, which wants to consider the space between Taiwan and the Mainland its territorial waters. And so that is considered by the Chinese government to be an affront.

Now, the United States has not mobilized in quite the same way as they did in the 1990s in response to the missile test. But Beijing is offering military exercises. In your words, welcomed the visit with military exercises that are quite close to Taiwan, within a dozen miles.

VAUSE: And that is the concern here, that the law of unintended consequences if something goes wrong. And then (INAUDIBLE) you know, not far away from being a shooting war but still a long way from that I hope.

Clayton, good to see you. Clayton Dube there for us from Los Angeles. Thank you sir.

DUBE: My pleasure, John.

VAUSE: Still to come, the devastation from deadly floods have left parts of Kentucky without electricity and clean drinking water. The very latest on recovery efforts in a moment.



VAUSE: 1,300 rescues within 48 hours in flood stricken Kentucky. Rescue teams have been searching for those missing or trapped by last week's floods. Some cities are desperately trying to find clean drinking supplies.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher has more now reporting in from Kentucky.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The death toll stands at 37 from the Kentucky floods, according to the governor. But he expects that number to go up.

The good news here is that the number of missing has gone down, in part because cell phone communications are starting to come back up and the roads are starting to open back up, so you can get to places like where I am right now.

This is the city of Fleming-Neon. And basically it looks like this here. All of this destruction and damage -- all through main street -- that's the town dentist, completely destroyed, all through the road, it is mud, it is water.

I spoke with the mayor. She tells me, aside from feeling like her town looks like a war zone, people here need water because there is no running water right now. They serve about 4,000 people. They have one portable toilets right now. She says they need more.

She's bathing with bottled water in a pot at the moment. They need money, because their bank was flooded. This is a town of a bunch of older people. And the banks look like (INAUDIBLE) down the street. So they don't have access to their money, the Internet is down here. They can't do online banking. And they need medicine because the pharmacy flooded out as well.

We have seen people, volunteer from all over the Appalachia region coming to help clean up places like Fleming Neon right now. But what you see on Main Street here is really a glimpse at what most of this region looks like right now.

Now coming in today, this is some of the worst that I have seen so far in southeastern Kentucky. And there are communities that still look like this now. Most of their cars have flooded out, their homes have flooded. They don't have a way out so they need to rely on people to come in and help them at this point.

Dianne Gallagher, CNN -- Fleming Neon, Kentucky.


VAUSE: In Croatia the climate emergency wild fires with fire crews flying above a coastal town dumping water on the flames below. This area is popular with tourists on the Adriatic Sea, one of many European regions that are battling wildfires this summer.

(INAUDIBLE) fight temperatures which are soaring again in southern France as the country grapples with its 3rd heat wave this summer.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri at the CNN Weather Center with more. Those heat waves, they just keep coming and they seem to get hotter.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, it's incredibly hot. It continues to remain about 10 degrees above average around these areas John. So that's concerning. And I was looking into the numbers of the early July, mid-July heat waves. Between 5 troops to eight days it how many days those lasted.

Fortunately this particular heatwave ahead of us, looking about two to three days tops for a lot of these areas are the expansion towards northern areas of France and to say Germany as well.

Notice, it's been close to -- how to get used to this, right. This is the name of the game this time of year with the excessive heat that's in place. The South of France and the city of (INAUDIBLE) there -- something to tell you, six of your dogs just kind of watered that recycles to the ground but it's sort of huge -- it ha s really lingered all across that southern reef (ph).

And notice even into areas of northeastern Portugal excessive heat alerts still in place. And this is what happened. When your temperature should be 28. Your close enough towards the coast where the summer months, upper twenties, lower 30s are what you expect.

And then you climb up to the upper 30s lower 40s. That becomes concerning. And again this heat is shifting, expanding. A little farther towards the north.

But I want to pause this for you into Friday, notice the color contours significant sharp divide here of those colored contours. That's cooler air, marine influence coming in here as we go in from Friday into Saturday.

So essentially what you're getting Wednesday and Thursday is the max effort of this heat wave here. Before conditions come back down closer, not to seasonal averages necessarily, but closer to season average.

Notice this. When it comes to air conditioning units, of course, the percentage of homes with them installed. Across the northern sea of Europe, really dropped off rather sharply.

Southern Spain is actually closer to 60 percent, Northern Central Spain around 30 percent. And then work your way into northern areas of Europe, as low as one percent across the U.K. whereas U.S. and Japan over 85 percent of homes have air conditioning unit installed.

Now again, as far as it's short lived event, notice 36 -- 30 eventually into the 20s and see what happens.

When you see that average temperature, 25 degrees. That's a 30 year average. Essentially what the norm has become now is about 27 because you come back down, we go right back up.

The average all of the Saudi you're looking at the upper 20s being the average in this current time across these areas. Berlin climbs up to 37 degrees. Moderates back up to the middle 20s and there we go back up again into the upper 20s.


JAVAHERI: So this is a pattern of watching these showers popping up at the higher elevations generally. But in London, your far enough north here where we don't think the impacts are going to be as significant.

Again, you stay above average the entirety of this seven-day span but it is not as significant for those northern areas.

As far as heat and wildfires are concerned, areas of much of Italy here really dealing with significant fires John that have been in place and we're going to watch this over the next several days. Because again fire weather doesn't get better when you have these areas of heat that expand in these regions. So that's the forecast across Europe.

VAUSE: Just looks the same doesn't it? It's always just hot, hot, hot.


VAUSE: Pedram, thank you.

We'll take a break. When we come back, fresh off winning Euro 2022, women's football, Alessia Russo speaks to CNN. She speaks about taking on the U.S. at the next World Cup. How about that?


VAUSE: Britain's Princess Charlotte delighted crowds at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England on Tuesday. The 7-year-old she made an appearance along with her parents, that's Prince William and Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge.

They were seen attending swimming and hockey events. And this is reportedly the first time young Charlotte has attended a royal event without any of her siblings. The 2022 Commonwealth Games span 11 days showcasing over 5,000 athletes competing in a variety of sporting events. It's held every 4 years. It's kind of like the Olympics but not as big.

And fresh off winning the Euro 2022 championship, England's football forward Alessia Russo is speaking to CNN. In an interview with WORLD SPORT's Amanda Davies, she spoke about the rising popularity of women's football, and England's chances at next year's world cup.


ALESSIA RUSSO, FOOTBALL PLAYER: The final was just an unbelievable day, the state, like the stadium, the event had an almost, those fans that was just surreal. And then for women's football, we hope that it's a start of what's to come.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: What was the moment for you that, when it really HIT you this is the European championship final?

RUSSO: I think. Well, I didn't shed any tears until after the game. But before, when we were all singing the national anthem, and 90,000 people are singing it with you. Was really like, wow, this is crazy how far it is all come.

DAVIES: What did Serena (ph) say to you before you went out onto the pitch?

RUSSO: She's very calm and levelheaded that she manages to keep us all, like not numb to it all because obviously you enjoy the occasion but you can't play up to anything really, you just have to just focus on the game.

RUSSO: So she's really good at keeping everyone locked in and focus. So it was just same as normal.

DAVIES: How would you describe her as a coach?

RUSSO: I think the main word to describe her is that she is a winner. She knows how to win and she has her ways and it works, I think we all love playing under her. She's like keeping us all humble, keeping us all on the ground and was the real driving force for while we were able to kind of just focus on the games and not get too involved in everything else.

DAVIES: When the final whistle what was that moment like for you?

RUSSO: Yes. It was unbelievable. That's when I was a bit emotional, I think. Just like -- It was a bit of a relief almost because we have been working so hard for it for the past like few months now, and obviously the players that have played before us had come so close for many years.

Yes. They paved the way for us and then we could just go out there and enjoy it.


DAVIES: Have you genuinely not felt the pressure or how have you dealt with that?

RUSSO: Honestly no, not really. I think the media put pressure on us as soon as they found out it was a home tournament.

DAVIES: I'm sorry.

RUSSO: There's never been any pressure kind of internally.

People asking us why don't you beat Norway. Are we ready for the final? We often (INAUDIBLE) we still have got like three games together. In camp, it was really results focused and we knew there would be no trophy, or no final, if we didn't win the game that was first.

DAVIES: Is that even the case after the backheel (ph)?

RUSSO: I watched it a couple of times, but the that was it, I had to switch off. Because it was a turnaround before the final and I thought, it was amazing. And it was very special, but yes, would've meant nothing if we didn't win the tournament.

DAVIES: Had you practiced that?

RUSSO: No. And I don't think I'll ever score a goal like that again. I think it was just a one-times wonder but I'll take it.

DAVIES: Have you read some of the things that've been written about it? When you have the likes too many recreating it on the pitch. How does that feel?

RUSSO: Yes that was really cool. I saw my old club that I grew up playing with, they were all practicing at training which was nice and if it's a goal or whatever, it is nice to see the women's football league leaving a mark on the world and on young boys and girls.

So yes, if it's inspired one person to go out and play football I'll take it.

DAVIES: This has been mega strides with the game here in England but also across Europe in recent years. Do you think that the U.S. is still the benchmark?

RUSSO: I think that historically yes, what they have done over the years, is unbelievable, but they've also won trophies to back it up. And hopefully that's what we're going to be starting to do.

This is just the start now for us, I think. Yes, we want to pack out stadiums every week, of course we do. But we have to be realistic. And we know that it is a process to get there, and we just want to see more people fall in love with the game and accept that women's football is amazing and yes, the USA set the bar but the teams are catching up now and it's really exciting.

DAVIES: Can you give them a run for their money at the World Cup next year?

RUSSO: Hopefully, yes. We'll give it our best though, yes. We're excited.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us. My friend and colleague, Rosemary Church, will be back after a very short break.

And I will see right back here tomorrow.