PC: Daily Sabah
Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen had a meeting that, understandably, infuriated China.
Pelosi thanked Tsai for supporting democratic values and pledged to work with the United States towards a safer Taiwan Straits and wider Indo-Pacific region.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, drawing the ire of China, which says the visit infringes on the one-China policy.
For weeks, China has advised Pelosi not to visit the disputed island, which China considers to be a part of its territory.
Speaker Pelosi is one of Taiwan’s most devoted friends, said Tsai at a ceremony to award Pelosi with the Order of Propitious Clouds with special Grand Cordon.
We really appreciate your visit to Taiwan to express America’s support for Taiwan.
She also promised to build economic cooperation and ensure a more resilient supply chain with the U.S. Pelosi reiterated her commitment to supporting global peace and cooperation with Taiwan.
According to Pelosi, the story of Taiwan is an inspiration to freedom-loving people in the U.S. and around the world.
“Out of the crucible of challenge you have forged a flourishing democracy, one of the freest in the world proudly led by a woman president.”
Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated during a press conference following her meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen that the island republic is an emblem of democracy and an example for the region. In contrast to the systems on mainland China and Hong Kong, which he said has fallen short of their promise of the one country two systems structure, Taiwan was thriving.
According to Taiwanese law, Pelosi received a medal from Taiwan that is normally awarded to Taiwanese citizens for their contributions to society, but may also be awarded to foreigners in order to promote diplomatic ties.
After a short stop in Malaysia, Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday night and left on Wednesday.
According to political experts, the visit was problematic and a mistake.
“The conflict is escalating and it is escalating at an unprecedented rate. China will not act recklessly, but this type of confrontation could create a very unfortunate accident,” Yale University senior fellow Stephen Roach said on Wednesday’s “Street Signs Asia.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus has said that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a mistake.
Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has created a very large deal of controversy, which has led to tension, he said.“I think it’s dangerous. I think it’s reckless.”
The warnings that China issued
It’s worth noting that in the days before the visit, the Chinese military carried out live-fire exercises for the whole day on Saturday just 80 miles from Taiwan.
Beijing has banned imports of a variety of Taiwanese goods including snacks and biscuits.
Import of citrus fruit from Wednesday, horse mackerel from Taiwan, and the exporting of natural sand from Thursday has also been stopped.
In tweets, China’s Foreign Affairs Minister before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan said it was a major political provocation.
The leader of the United States Congress and current incumbent, Nancy Pelosi, is not just visiting Taiwan for business, but to further Taiwanese-U.S. relations. Whether or not the leaders are provoking tensions with mainland China is irrelevant.
According to Neil Thomas of the Eurasia Group, the chances of a major conflict between China and Taiwan have risen from 25% to 30% as a result of the Chinese military response to Pelosi’s visit.
Conflict remains low’
In a note on Tuesday, Eurasia Group predicted Beijing’s reaction as “unprecedented, yet not unhinged.”
The PLA exercises are more of a performance than a war preparation; the chances of kinetic war still remain low, said Eurasia Group senior analyst Neil Thomas, referring to China’s forces, the People’s Liberation Army.
Thomas said the PLA didn’t interfere with Pelosi’s flight to Taiwan and its planned exercises are meant to act as a ‘serious warning’ to Taiwan and a ‘serious deterrent’ to the US.
China will closely follow Pelosi’s itinerary, Hua said at a daily press conference on Tuesday.
“And if the US continues down the wrong path, we will take strong and resolute measures to protect our sovereignty and security interests,” Hua said.
Officially, the Biden administration tried to avoid saying directly whether Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a decision the president supported. White House and Pentagon officials, however, made little secret of their opposition to it.
While acknowledging Washington and Beijing are strategic adversaries, Biden’s approach to China seeks to maintain a stable, predictable relationship with the U.S.’s biggest trading partner.
This mindfulness from Biden, added Thomas, could also have the potential to alleviate any possible conflict but he cautioned that it would not abate quickly.
According to the Eurasia analyst, China could announce further responses in the coming days, weeks, and even months leading up to the Communist Party Congress in either October or November.
“Several of Beijing’s major institutions have released unusual statements condemning Pelosi’s visit and vowing to defend China’s claim to Taiwan.”
“Future expressions of support for Taiwan by US and allied officials — including visits, dialogues, and defense cooperation — are now likely to meet harsher responses,” he warned.