Why did Nancy Pelosi go to Taiwan? Dispute, explain.

How reckless can a trip to Taiwan be?

For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it depends who you ask.Even before Pelosi, the second-in-line president of the United States, landed on the democratic island on Tuesday, her Potential Travel plans have been triggered domestic political debate and a foreign policy disputes.

From President Joe Biden to Trump Administration Alumni to Kremlin Has been weighing Pelosi’s itinerary.A senior U.S. representative planning to travel to China angers China Claiming to be its own neighboring island, Beijing immediately began to issue warnings.In Thursday’s show of force, China implement Conduct military activities, launch missiles and other live-fire training in waters near Taiwan.The exercise, which experts say appears to revolve around Taiwan and simulate a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, will continue, the Chinese government said. four days.

Pelosi and a delegation of five House Democrats login Two days ago and Wednesday in Taiwan meet With President Tsai Ing-wen and other leaders and lawmakers. “Our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as a clear statement that the United States stands with our democratic partner Taiwan in defense of itself and freedom,” Pelosi wrote. Washington Post Column.

The House Speaker’s first visit in 25 years is now over, bringing new attention to how the United States handles Taiwan’s balancing act. It is a complex policy full of diplomatic nuances aimed at easing relations with China while also supporting Taiwan against Chinese aggression. All of this is accentuated by China’s rapid economic and military rise, which has focused U.S. energies on countering its global influence.

This has created an atmosphere of dangerous competition between the two nuclear-armed nations, even if traveling abroad is strategic.

Travel plans – and everyone’s response to the plans

Pelosi canceled a trip to Taiwan in April when she tested positive for Covid-19 reschedule August, an action First reported by the Financial Times.

The news immediately angered Beijing, and worry The same goes for some in Washington.

President Joe Biden Say In late July, when Pelosi left, “the military doesn’t think it’s a good idea right now.” (Some Biden officials have Say China could block her travel by imposing a no-fly zone over Taiwan, which could put the U.S. and China in direct conflict. )

At a news conference a day later, Pelosi refute “It’s important to show our support for Taiwan.” She said she never discusses international travel plans “because it’s a security issue,” but added that she hadn’t heard anything directly from the government about the plane. some Republican lawmakers back Pelosiand since then, the White House has also publicly expressed support for the visit.

“As a country, we shouldn’t — we shouldn’t be [China’s] words or those underlying actions. This is an important trip for the speaker and we will do everything we can to support her,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN’s Brianna Kaylar on Monday.

Congressman frequently travels abroad to hotspots; House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) led a group of lawmakers to Ukraine For example, just last week. Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich visited Taiwan in 1997 when he was Speaker, the last time the second-ranked US president visited Taiwan.But aside from Pelosi and Biden being key members of the same party, relations with China have soured since the 90s. In response to Pelosi’s visit, China boldly threatened”strong measures“against Taiwan and expressed serious concerns about the visit to the White House. On Tuesday, ahead of Pelosi’s arrival, Chinese fighter jets fly along the dividing line of the Taiwan Strait.

Much of the unease in Washington and Beijing about the trip may have to do with the timing.CCP this autumn The 20th National Congress, a major gathering held every five years, is expected to hold Xi Jinping’s unprecedented third term as president. He is also likely to discuss Taiwan at the expert meeting, when experts see parallels between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the power China wants to assert over Taiwan. (a lot of people want to know what course China is learning from Vladimir Putin’s brutal adventurism and the West’s response to it. ) Biden and Xi Jinping Two hours on the phone last week to ease Sino-US relations.

“The timing is bad, there have been worse times, and this is definitely worse timing,” Lev Nachman, a fellow at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for China Studies, told me last week. “The worrying thing is that Pelosi’s Leaving could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

China often angers Taiwan Military exercisesbut live-fire drills Around Taiwan this week Especially close to the island’s coastline – the closest it has been in a quarter of a century. But there could also be something more provocative. “Almost any time there’s a congressional delegation, any time there’s an arms sale to Taiwan, China will sing and dance,” Nachman said. “When China says they’re going to retaliate, what they worry about is: Will it harm them? Is it always the same for us? Or will there be more?”

Earlier this week, Pelosi and five other House Democrats began a tour of Asia. Except for Singapore Station on Monday and Malaysia Station on Tuesday, The group has Announce It will visit South Korea and Japan.

Right now, all eyes are on what happens — and what lies ahead — between China, Taiwan, and the U.S. during these live-fire exercises over the next few days.

Nuanced China policy and an impromptu Biden

The ambiguity in the US-Taiwan relationship is dizzying for those not fully familiar with the “one China” policy that has been in effect since the 1970s. The U.S. officially recognizes China’s claim to Taiwan, but does not support it. U.S. officials say they do not support Taiwan independence, but ensuring Taiwan’s autonomy is at the heart of U.S. operations in Asia.And Pelosi’s A visit to Taiwan could upset a delicate balance.

The United States and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations, but there are many unofficial ones; relations are governed by a series of diplomatic agreements and laws—the Taiwan Relations Act (passed by Congress in 1979), three joint communiqués (the 1970s and 1980s) S between the US and China) and the Six Guarantees (US US and Taiwan). This is how the US sells arms to Taiwan to defend itself against China while maintaining relations with China.

As National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has put it, the policy of strategic ambiguity – whether or not the US will support Taiwan when China attacks it – has always been there emphasize in July. But Biden offered a different proposal.

As president, Biden has sparked controversy by describing “a commitment we made” to defend Taiwan if China were to attack it, even though U.S. policy has no such commitment. Biden’s continued off-the-cuff comments in this regard have led many to speculate that he is changing policy. Even minor wording changes are big things.When the US State Department changes sentence on its website, China publishes formal condemn. So the president has repeatedly contradicted his own administration, either self-destructing or poking China. After each episode, the White House downplayed the comments because, essentially, Biden is Biden.

As New York Times reporter David Sanger said, Biden’s remarks show assumed“The second thing it tells you about this administration is that they may be rethinking the utility of strategic ambiguity.”

Jessica Drun, a Taiwan expert at the Atlantic Council, said China was able to get ahead of public opinion because its attitude toward Taiwan was clear and declarative — Taiwan was theirs, and the U.S. passed Arming it is militaristic. “Our language contains nuances and some words have different meanings from a diplomatic standpoint,” she told me last week. “Every time there are things that need attention, so it’s hard for us to articulate our position, at least to the public. That’s why there are so many misunderstandings about U.S. policy toward Taiwan, sometimes even from our own government. Some people inside.”

When Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin talks about China policy, it’s like in Shangri-La Dialogue In June, he basically read out the “Taiwan Relations Act”. He was careful to stay on the script. U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken added more details on the U.S. issue on Taiwan. Key lectures on Asia in May. He noted that the policy “has been consistent across decades and administrations,” adding, “While our policy hasn’t changed, what has changed is Beijing’s growing coercion.”

The caution of the Biden team stands in stark contrast to the more bombastic approach taken by the Donald Trump administration, with trade wars, vitriol, and approval of more than $18 billion in arms sales to Taiwan. (Biden has approved more than $1 billion so far.)

Trump, as president-elect, undermine U.S. policy A phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.As Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s speech was interpreted as Threats to regime change in China. After leaving the government, Pompeo and former defense minister Mark Esper have been to Taiwan. With Biden’s low approval ratings and another presidential election in just two years, many in China’s government believe a more anti-China Republican government is imminent — while members of both parties in the United States are hollowing out” One China policy.

Rhetoric aside, Trump and Biden share some similarities in their approach to China and Taiwan.Arguably, Biden is implementing a Hawks China Strategy Former deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger pushed in the Trump White House.Biden’s Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo even hosting Pottinger will discuss and coordinate industrial policy in March.

In Washington, there is a bipartisan consensus on the Taiwan issue. “Republicans are louder than Democrats on Taiwan,” Nachman said, but explained that “every Taiwan bill that has ever passed Congress, whether in the House or Senate, has bipartisan support. , with unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans.”

Bonnie Glaser, head of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund think tank in Washington, D.C., debate The United States and the world need a Biden administration to clarify how it views U.S.-Taiwan relations, lest the president’s off-the-cuff remarks inadvertently define policy. Failure to do so, coupled with Pelosi’s visit, risks adding new dangers to what she calls a toxic U.S.-China relationship.

“Try to convince the Chinese that this is not part of a grand plan to change our policies, and it is very difficult to do so,” she told me last week. “They think our policies are more coherent than they should be.”

Correction, July 25 at 12:30 pm: A previous version of this story referred to air strike exercises in Taiwan, misrepresenting their reasons. The drills have been going on for decades; Pelosi’s potential travel plans to the island have added to the pressure on routine drills.

Update, August 4th at 10:30am: This article has been updated to include information on Chinese military activities.

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