Explained: Why China is opposing Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

Taiwan: The speaker of the US House, Nancy Pelosi, is about to travel to Taiwan at a very high level. A senior US official is in the self-governing nation of 24 million people for the first time in 25 years. Beijing also asserts its claim over Taiwan.

However, China has expressed outrage and threats in response to this trip on the multi-stop tour of Asia by the US House Speaker. The last time a US official went to the island was in 1977 when Newt Gingrich went to Taipei shortly after going to Beijing. China expressed disapproval of his visit, but no actual harm was done.

Taiwan

A much-avoided US-Chinese conflict might be sparked by Pelosi’s visit at a time of rising rhetoric and military tension.To comprehend the controversy, read on.

China the Taiwan squabble

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) contends that Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China and that all 1.3 billion Chinese citizens, not just the 23 million people who call Taiwan home, should approve of Taiwan’s independence.

Visit by Nancy Pelosi:

Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan comes days after US President Barack Obama was warned by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a phone call with Vice President Joe Biden that Pelosi’s journey would be met with unspecified consequences.

The US House Speaker visited Singapore on Monday to kick off her trip to Asia. In addition, she has travel plans for Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. A senior Taiwanese government official and a US official informed CNN on Monday that Pelosi is anticipated to visit Taiwan and spend the night there as part of her trip to Asia, even though Taiwan has not been mentioned in the public itinerary. When exactly Pelosi will arrive in Taipei is unknown.

When Nancy Pelosi raised a pro-democracy flag on Tiananmen Square in Beijing early in her political career, Bloomberg claims she left an impression on China’s leaders. The article also stated that Pelosi had a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen scheduled for Wednesday, while a different source claimed that this meeting is still subject to change.

Throughout her 35 years in Congress, Pelosi has been a staunch liberal on most international and local issues. She is also a hawk on China and a supporter of US efforts to advance human rights.

Pelosi observes the Tiananmen crackdown regularly. In solidarity with “activists on the mainland and around the region striving to exercise their basic freedoms and rights” against the Chinese Communist Party’s “accelerating human rights abuses” of its population, she spoke out on the 33rd anniversary in June.

China issues a warning to the US:

China warned her against travelling to the island Beijing claims as its own, saying that its military will never “sit idly by.”

In a warning to the self-governing island ahead of a likely visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China has blocked imports of biscuits and pastries from 35 Taiwanese exporters since Monday, according to Reuters.

The Chinese military would shoot down Pelosi’s plane if it flew over China, according to an editorial in the Chinese media.

The American response to China:

China has been urged by the US to hold off on commenting on the US House Speaker’s trip to Taiwan. They have urged China to refrain from military provocation in light of the visit. Beijing was persuaded by the US that such a visit would not mark a shift in policy toward the area and would not be the first of its sort.

On May 23, Biden reiterated that the US would protect Taiwan in the event of an invasion and urged the West to stand hard against Russia over Ukraine to prevent China from trying to take Taiwan by force.

China is against Pelosi’s visit because:

Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan will “have a significant detrimental impact on the political underpinnings of China-US ties,” according to Beijing.

If Pelosi visits Taiwan, it would be “a blatant intervention in China’s internal affairs,” according to Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, and it would have “extremely significant developments and consequences.”

Zhao stated during a routine daily briefing, “We want to remind the United States that China is watching, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will never stand idly by, and China will take bold replies and robust countermeasures to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Zhao responded when asked what actions the PLA would take, “If she dares to go, then let us wait and see.”

China thinks US representatives visiting Taiwan would encourage the island’s pro-independence faction. Despite not having formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Washington is required by US law to give the island the tools to defend itself.

China-US ties are political:

The political relationship between China and the US has been relatively cordial during Xi Jinping’s leadership.

The Chinese Communist Party will host its 20th congress, a significant gathering that takes place every five years and in which Xi Jinping is anticipated to be elected to a historic third term as president, according to a Vox report. He’ll probably talk about Taiwan during the event as well, given that some experts compare China’s desire to dominate Taiwan to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Thomas L. Friedman, a widely respected author, journalist, and columnist, “If she (Pelosi) does proceed with a travel to Taiwan this week, despite President Joe Biden’s desires, she will be acting in a very reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible manner.”

Taiwan gets ready for Pelosi’s arrival:

Four US warships, including an aircraft carrier, were positioned in the waters east of the island on Tuesday amid escalating Chinese warnings, according to Taipei.

A US Navy official confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday that the carrier USS Ronald Reagan had passed through the South China Sea and was now in the Philippines Sea, east of Taiwan and the Philippines and south of Japan.

With the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam and the destroyer USS Higgins, the Reagan, headquartered in Japan, is at sea.

According to the official, who spoke to Reuters under anonymity, “they are capable of responding to any circumstance, but these are standard, routine deployments.” The representative continued by saying they were unable to comment on specific places.

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