Pelosi in Taiwan heightens US-China tensions, Bejing infuriated

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan (Photo Credit - Reuters))

By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], August 3 (ANI): US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement after meeting with leaders in Taiwan on Wednesday about the US not abandoning its commitment to the self-governing island has infuriated China.
“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” Pelosi said in a speech after meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad,” Pelosi added.
China which claims Taiwan as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments, announced multiple military exercises around the island, issued a series of harsh statements and even summoned the US ambassador to Beijing, Nicholas Burns, to protest against Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng, described the nature of Nancy Pelosi’s visit as “vicious”, vowing swift and severe consequences.
As Pelosi’s plane touched down in Taipei on Tuesday, Chinese state media reported that its military jets were crossing the Taiwan strait. Taiwan denied those reports at that time, but later said, that more than 20 Chinese military planes had entered its air defence zone on Tuesday.
In retaliation, China’s customs department announced a suspension of imports of citrus fruits, chilled white striped hairtail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan, while its commerce ministry banned the export of natural sand to Taiwan.
Pelosi’s trip has heightened US-China tensions more than visits by other members of Congress because of her high-level position as leader of the House of Representatives. She is the first speaker of the house to come to Taiwan in 25 years since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Meanwhile in Washington, US national security spokesperson John Kirby said there was “no reason for this visit to become a spurring event for a crisis or conflict”.
“China appears to be positioning itself to potentially take further steps in the coming days and perhaps over longer time horizons,” Kirby told reporters Tuesday.
He warned provocations could include firing missiles in the Taiwan Strait or around Taiwan and large-scale breaches of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone by warplanes. He said that China might also make public assertions similar to those it made recently to the effect that the Taiwan Strait is not an international waterway.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that China “should think very carefully” about escalating the situation and warned the US would do whatever was necessary to protect its interests.
Supporters of the visit unusually included many Republican lawmakers said, it’s critical for the Speaker to show support for Taiwan and to underscore Washington is serious about its legal commitment to offer the island the means of its self-defence.
Some analysts say such a shift could not only risk dragging the United States into a war in the Pacific against China that Americans are not prepared for, but that it could also make Beijing even more aggressive.
Pelosi’s said her visit is also about human rights and what she called dangerous technology transfers to “rogue countries.” Pelosi is visiting a human rights museum in Taipei later Wednesday before she departs for South Korea, the next stop on an Asia tour that also includes Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan. (ANI)