In a crucial meeting that angered Beijing, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday. Tsai commended Pelosi for supporting democratic values at a meeting in Taipei and pledged to cooperate with the United States on issues relating to security in the Taiwan Straits and the larger Indo-Pacific region. As the highest-ranking American politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years, Pelosi’s trip has angered China, which has described it as a violation of the one-China policy and an intrusion into its domestic affairs.
Pelosi has been warned by China not to travel to the contentious island, which Beijing claims is a part of its territory, for several weeks. At the event where Pelosi was awarded the “Order of Propitious Clouds with special Grand Cordon,” Tsai declared that Pelosi was “really one of Taiwan’s most committed friends.” We really appreciate you coming to Taiwan to demonstrate the American Congress’ unwavering support for Taiwan. Tsai also promised to strengthen commercial ties and supply chain stability with the United States.
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Pelosi stated that she was committed to promoting world peace and expanding economic ties with Taiwan. According to Pelosi, “the story of Taiwan is an inspiration to freedom-loving individuals in the United States and around the world.” “You have fashioned a flourishing democracy, one of the freest in the world, proudly led by a woman president, out of the furnace of challenge.” Following her discussion with Tsai, Pelosi added in a news conference that it was critical to highlight Taiwan’s achievements as a symbol of democracy and a role model for the region. The “one country, two systems” promise “didn’t happen” in the political systems of Hong Kong and the rest of mainland China, she continued.
According to Taiwanese law, the medal that Pelosi earned from that country can also be given to “foreigners to foster diplomatic interaction” in addition to Taiwanese citizens for their contributions to society. Pelosi left Malaysia on Tuesday evening and arrived in Taiwan the next night. She was scheduled to depart on Wednesday night. Political analysts have commented on the trip, calling it problematic and unwise. Conflict is intensifying, and it is doing so quickly.
China won’t act rashly, but this kind of conflict could lead to a tragic accident, said Yale University Senior Fellow Stephen Roach on Wednesday’s episode of “Street Signs Asia” on CNBC. Max Baucus, a former U.S. ambassador to China, added that Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was a mistake in a different interview. He declared that “Speaker Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan escalates tensions, and needlessly.” “I believe it to be risky. It seems irresponsible to me.
The Chinese military conducted live-firing drills all day Saturday roughly 80 miles from Taiwan in preparation for the visit. Beijing has also taken action to restrict the import of a number of products from Taiwan, including cookies and candies. Additionally, starting on Wednesday, it has halted exports of natural sand as well as imports of frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan and various citrus fruits, including grapefruit, lemon, and orange. China’s assistant foreign affairs minister Hua Chunying stated in a series of tweets on Tuesday that Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was a “serious political provocation” before she arrived.
“Speaker Pelosi’s visit to and activities in Taiwan, in whatever shape and for whatever cause, are a big political provocation to enhance U.S. official exchanges with Taiwan,” Hua claimed in her tweets. “Speaker Pelosi is the incumbent leader of the U.S. Congress.” Although the likelihood of a significant Taiwan Strait security crisis has increased from 25% to 30% as a result of China’s military response to Pelosi’s visit, the likelihood of a major conflict remained low, according to Neil Thomas, political analyst at the Eurasia Group in a note prior to the visit.
Conflict is still minimal.
According to the letter on Tuesday, Eurasia Group anticipates Beijing’s response to be “unprecedented but not unhinged.” Neil Thomas, a senior analyst at Eurasia Group, referred to China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army. “However, these PLA exercises are more performative messages than preparations for war; crisis is not yet basecase and the risk of kinetic warfare remains very low,” he added. The PLA claims that its upcoming drills are intended to serve as a “serious deterrent” to the US and a “serious warning” to Taiwan, and Thomas stated that the PLA did not interfere with Pelosi’s flight to Taiwan.
Hua stated on Tuesday that China would closely watch Pelosi’s itinerary during the daily press conference of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Additionally, Hua stated, “We will take firm and determined steps to preserve our sovereignty and security interests if the US continues on its current course. In recent weeks, the Biden administration took care to avoid explicitly stating whether the president supported Pelosi’s choice to travel to Taiwan. Unofficially, though, the Pentagon and the White House were open about their resistance to it. The goal of Biden’s policy toward China is to keep the major commercial partner of the United States in a predictable, stable relationship while simultaneously recognising that Beijing and Washington are geopolitical rivals.
Thomas said that Biden’s awareness of potential conflicts could help to diffuse them, but he cautioned that the threat of a crisis would not go away immediately. As the 20th Party Congress approaches in either October or November, “China could announce fresh responses in the following days, weeks, and perhaps months,” the Eurasia expert warned. Several significant institutions in Beijing have made extraordinary statements criticising Pelosi’s visit and pledging to support China’s claim to Taiwan. Future trips, conversations, and defence cooperation by US and foreign officials “are now likely to receive harsher replies,” he cautioned.