Photo Credit: Taiwan Presidential Office
International leaders expressed different sentiments in response to the recent visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, with China being the most affected.
China quickly reacted by publishing statements and making public displays denouncing the US move. Pelosi’s visit will have a “serious impact” on the current US-China relations, the Chinese government claims. Furthermore, China has said that it will begin drills and “air and sea exercises” near Taiwan in the coming days.
According to China, the visit is an assault on its sovereignty and a “serious political provocation.” It had been 25 years since the last time a senior US senator stepped foot on Taiwanese soil. The Chinese Communist Party has long claimed Taiwan as part of its domain.
Cementing US-Taiwan relations
Even after receiving repeated warnings about Pelosi’s travel from Chinese authorities, the delegation continued with its meetings. Pelosi and other officials had “a series of high-profile meetings” with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, and the Taiwanese legislature.
Pelosi claims that their goal is to convey an “unequivocal statement” that “America stands with Taiwan.”
The California Democrat declared, “We want Taiwan to always have freedom with security, and we’re not backing away from that.” She continued by praising the Taiwanese for their fortitude in defending democracy, even amid intense pressure from their neighbor.
While China warned America, according to analysts, Taiwan will suffer more from China’s vengeance.
China begins military drills and exercises as a response
China’s announcement of the beginning of its military operations across the nation has served as a strong message to Taiwan and the US of its displeasure. On Tuesday, the Eastern Theater Command and the Ministry of Defense said that a series of “targeted military operations to counter the situation” will be underway.
The maneuvers are unmistakably a more serious threat from Beijing to Taiwan than they were previously. Analysts said that the exercises are closer than before and even cover Taiwan’s territorial waters on the official exercise map. The drills will entirely circle the island, including the Taiwan Strait’s lakes and zones.
Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain and employee of the Joint Center Intelligence of the US Pacific Command, claimed that China had “gone a lot farther than they ever have before.”
“The geopolitical signal being sent is that China can close Taiwan’s air and sea access whenever it wants,” Schuster said.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry stated that the Chinese military exercises would “threaten international waterway, challenge the international order, undermine cross-strait status quo, and harm regional security” in a press conference on Wednesday.
A setback for China?
It is apparent that Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan is a setback for China, which had earlier expressed its disapproval of Pelosi’s visit and stated that it crosses the “red line,” despite the fact that China has been eager to issue warnings to both Taiwan and the US.
“Pelosi landed in Taiwan, which of course reflects that our deterrent power is not enough to stop her early offensive,” said Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of Global Times, a state-run nationalist tabloid.
“But if you are very frustrated because of this, thinking that we have ‘lost’ and encountered a new ‘national humiliation,’ it’s a bit exaggerated then. Some individuals can think that way, but we must not have such a collective vulnerability,” added the editor.
Furthermore, the timing may not be favorable for Xi Jinping to win re-election in the upcoming 20th Congress.
The director of the China Program, Yun Sun, said, “The Chinese tried to use saber rattling and use the rhetorical war in order to deter Pelosi’s trip, and they went overboard with their threats.”
“Now Pelosi decided to have the trip, and that leaves the Chinese hanging because they can’t really deliver.”
Opinions expressed by US Insider contributors are their own.