Pelosi Should Ignore the Intimidation Tactics

In light of a potential visit to Taiwan

The US House speaker and long-time politician Nancy Pelosi might go to Taiwan in a near future, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Nathan Howard-Getty Images

ccording to sources, the United States House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is discretely planning a trip to Taiwan with senior lawmakers. As of now, nothing has been corroborated by American officials. If it ends up happening, it will surely lead to new tensions between the US and Chinese administrations, which the relationship hasn’t been at his best for a little while.

Should we let threats from China discourage elected officials from going to the island? Absolutely not. It is in Pelosi’s right to visit an ally. Fear of repercussions should never be a deal breaker for diplomatic visits abroad. Just take for example the multiple bluffs sent by North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, in the last decade related to the use of nuclear arms. The US, and its allies, have a legitimate right to vehicle democratic values across the globe, no matter what the dictators thinks about these messages.

With everything known, commentators are stating that the tensions are at their highest point in years; which isn’t reassuring when all eyes of the world are on Ukraine and its neighbouring countries.

This weekend, Pelosi left for a trip to Asia. It remains unclear if a stop in Taipei is part of the plans. What is clear at the moment is that nothing is off the table.

Michael McCaul, a republican, and the Democrat Anna Eshoo, have admitted to the media earlier this week that they have been approached by Pelosi to join her on a future trip to Taiwan. If ever it is bound to happen, she will almost certainly meet with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, and key public figures.

In light of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, people fear that Xi Jinping might want to imitate is close Russian ally and invade the East Asian “country.”

With all of the uncertainty on the international scale, with the leaders needing to deal with the ongoing pandemic and the monkeypox outbreak, another military conflict between two superpowers is the last thing that the world needs.

Nerveless, the United States must stand up for its principles and remain present for his allies, including Taiwan. We cannot let the Taiwanese down and give in to the fear amid the intimidation tactics from the Chinese regime. Everything must be done to defend them against the unpredictability of the Beijing regime.

Xi has warned the Biden administration to not visit the peninsula. He did so in an over 2 hours call with President Biden on Thursday, the fifth call between both leaders since Biden’s election. It was described as candid by Chinese officials.

Both men last discussed in March, shortly after the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One of the positive things to come out of the call, even with all the disagreements between the two countries on the human rights front- particularly with the dismantling of freedom of expression in Hong Kong- is that they want to meet in person rather soon.

From the Roosevelt room in the White House, President Biden and President Xi during a virtual meeting last year. Doug Mills/The New York Times

If indeed the House speaker, who is second in line to the presidency, follows through with her initial intention and goes to Taiwan, she would be the highest-ranked US government official since Newt Gingrich (republican) visited in 1997. At that time, China was irritated by Gingrich’s visit but didn’t use force to make their case heard. Nowadays, the situation isn’t the same as it was, which is why experts fear the repercussions of a future visit by the House speaker.

If she goes to the island, it is certain that the pentagon will need to be well prepared and assure her security. The US military is already planning accordingly and preparations are already in full gear, according to news outlets.

It was reported by the Associated Press that “ fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide overlapping rings of protection for her flight to Taiwan and any time on the ground there.

The timing isn’t ideal. On August 1, China is celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party. And later this year, if everything goes as planned, Xi Jinping should be able to obtain a third mandate as president. To be noted that not long ago he revealed his ambitions to remain in office indefinitely, as it is the case for a monarch. Back then, Trump also joked about staying president for more than two terms, defying the established rule written in the 22nd amendment of the US constitution.

Without urging Pelosi to abandon her visit to Taiwan, Biden said that it might not be the best moment.

In the event of a visit, Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, would welcome Pelosi with open arms. Tsai Ing-wen’s Twitter

A spokesman from China’s Foreign Ministry is threatening to “ take resolute and powerful measure ” if the visit materialized. China could potentially impose a no-fly zone over Taiwan. We could witness military deployment by the Chinese officials, like it was the case in 1995 when the then president of the island went to the US.

Unlike it is the case for Ukraine, Biden already said that an intervention from China in Taiwan, whatever the scale of it, will lead to the presence of American troops on the ground to defend the territory.

Political tensions aren’t new in this part of the world, but this could be a game changer. China doesn’t recognize the independence of Taiwan. Beijing says that it is a province of China, and that it must be reunified, by force if necessary.

Pelosi should not only go to Taiwan, but she should also move one step closer in acknowledging Taiwan’s independence.

We all know that this declaration might not happen soon. We should still prepare for it knowing that it is inevitable.

Everybody knows the close relationship shared between the US and Taiwan. It is without surprise that the two countries share similar values of democracy and human rights. The US, without officially recognizing the island as an independent country, has close ties with the territory, which includes military assistance that is provided. For now, the United States opposes unilateral efforts that would change the status quo in Taiwan.

Without any doubt, China doesn’t like this closeness in this part of the world. The communist dictatorship doesn’t want to lose its power and influence.

For the last few months, China has increased its presence on the sky of Taiwan. More and more warplanes from China have been spotted into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

And the regime has said that the Taiwan Strait, 180 kilometres, does not constitute international waters, a change in the relationship that we have gotten to know.

Pelosi had planned for a visit in Taiwan in April but had to cancel after getting COVID.

Let’s hope that the House speaker will stand tall and proud in Taiwan in the eventuality of a visit.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Olivier Pilon

Graduated with a masters degree in politics from the University of Quebec in Montreal. Human rights, LGBT issues, sports and music. Twitter: @OlivierPilon