Did Taiwan fall from Pelosi’s Asian tour?
A former official suggested that it would stop on the island “unofficially.”
Monday – 4 Muharram 1444 AH – 01 August 2022 AD Issue No. [
A man reads the news of Pelosi’s visit to Asia at a newsstand in Beijing yesterday (A.B.)
Washington: Asharq Al-Awsat.
While US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to arrive in Singapore on Monday, the statement of her Asian tour raised questions about the fall of “Taiwan Station” from the schedule of a visit that will include – in addition to Singapore – Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
A possible visit to Taiwan, which Pelosi hinted at in April and had to postpone after she contracted the Corona virus, was the focus of a call that lasted more than two hours between the US and Chinese presidents last week, in which Xi Jinping warned the United States not to “play with fire.” .
In a statement published Sunday before her departure from Hawaii to Singapore, Pelosi said, “I am leading a Congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm America’s commitment to our allies and friends in the region.” “In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, we will hold high-level meetings to discuss ways to advance our shared values and interests, including peace and security, economic growth and trade, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis, human rights, and democratic governance,” she added.
The House Speaker’s entourage, all Democrats, includes the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks, and members of the Standing Committee on Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee.
Although the statement did not include a reference to Taiwan, China raised its alert and warnings. In response to reports that Pelosi is likely to stick to the Taiwan station, Chinese Air Force spokesman Shen Jinqi said on Sunday that “the air force has resolute determination, full confidence and sufficient capabilities to defend the national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the country.” In comments reported by the People’s Daily, he said that defending Chinese territory is a “sacred mission” of the army.
Over the past two years, China has increased the sorties of its fighter planes and bombers in the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone. “The Air Force’s multi-type combat aircraft are flying around the motherland of Taiwan, and they are training to enhance their ability to maintain national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Shen said.
On the eve of Pelosi’s visit to Asia, China held, on Saturday, military exercises “with live ammunition” in the Taiwan Strait. The maneuvers were geographically limited, and took place in the immediate vicinity of the Chinese coasts.
Despite raising China’s military readiness in preparation for any possible confrontation, observers on both sides rule out a scenario of direct military escalation. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday that the United States has not seen any evidence of Chinese military activity targeting Taiwan, in response to Pelosi’s possible visit.
On the other hand, both Washington and Beijing are facing internal pressures over the visit, which reduces the margin for maneuvering to ease tension between the two sides. Chen Shi, a professor of international relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told Xinhua that canceling the visit could cost the Democrats politically, while China cannot appear weak in the face of a potential provocation.
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, the third most senior figure in the US administration, has broad bipartisan support if she decides to visit Taiwan, despite the escalating tension between Washington and Beijing.
While observers suggest that the US official maintains ambiguity over her possible visit for security reasons, others believe that it may be a signal to ease tensions with Beijing. Drew Thompson, a former official in the US Department of Defense, says that the fall of Taiwan from the official statement of the Asian tour does not prevent Pelosi and her delegation from stopping on the island unofficially. He explains through his account on “Twitter”; Because the statement adapted to Beijing’s concerns, it did not mention Taiwan alongside sovereign states; An unofficial layover is expected in Taiwan after Malaysia.
And Pelosi’s visit, if it takes place, will not be the first. Republican Newt Gingrich, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, visited Taiwan in 1997, and Beijing’s reaction was relatively mild. Pelosi has frequently publicly criticized China, befriended the Dalai Lama, and angered Beijing in 1991 during a visit by displaying a banner in Tiananmen Square honoring pro-democracy protesters murdered there two years earlier.
America’s ‘fixed’ position
US President Joe Biden affirmed his country’s adherence to its historical position on Taiwan. “The United States firmly opposes unilateral efforts to change the situation or threaten peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he said in his call with his Chinese counterpart. For his part, Xi called on his US counterpart not to “play with fire” over Taiwan, at a time when a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman described Pelosi’s visit to the island as a “red line.”
Washington does not establish diplomatic relations with Taipei, and recognizes the communist regime in Beijing as the sole representative of China; But the United States sells weapons to the island and praises its “democratic” regime.
This week, the Taiwanese army conducted its largest annual military exercise, which included simulated responses to Chinese attacks from the sea. While the US Navy said that the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan sailed with its fleet from Singapore to the South China Sea as part of a scheduled operation.
#Taiwan #fall #Pelosis #Asian #tour