Explainer: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Visit To Taiwan
A United States house speaker, Nancy Pelosi, paid a visit on Tuesday to Taiwan which resulted in an angry reaction by China.
China, is said to have for a long time sustained a sour relationship with Taiwan over a territory dispute.
China’s ruling Communist Party claims the self-ruled democracy of Taiwan as its own territory.
“Any move that appears to lend Taiwan a sense of international legitimacy is strongly opposed by China. And in the eyes of Beijing, high-profile overseas visits by Taiwanese officials, or visits by foreign officials to Taiwan, will do just that.” CNN writes.
Beijing, China’s capital for decades, has strived to isolate Taipei on the world stage, staving off Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and preventing it from joining international organizations.
However, Pelosi’s political reputation makes her visit all the more provocative to Beijing.
“Pelosi is the third public official in the line of succession after the President and Vice President, I think the Chinese take that very seriously,” said Susan L. Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego.
“So she is a very important figure in American politics. It’s different from your ordinary member of Congress.” She added.
Pelosi, the California Democrat is leading a congressional delegation on a tour in Asia this week, which includes visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan.
Even though it is not included in her official itinerary, speculations that Pelosi was planning a visit to Taiwan have fueled US-China anxieties since reports of her trip emerged last month.
China thinks of the visit as a “serious violation” of historical US-China agreements governing their relations.
In reaction, China’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said the trip would have a “severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations.”
“China will definitely take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the US Speaker’s visit,” the statement read.
The tensions, which led to a prolonged phone call between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday, had Xi warning the US not to “play with fire” on the Taiwan matter.
On his part, US President Joe Biden in a statement from the White House restated that the US policy “had not changed,”
“The United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the statement partly read.
Furthermore, statements signed by China’s Eastern Theater Command and Ministry of Defense Tuesday saysChina’s military will commence exercises on August 2 around Taiwan in reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governed island. It also declared plans to initiate a series of “targeted military operations to counteract the situation,”
“Starting from the evening of August 2, the Eastern Theater Command will carry out a series of joint military operations around Taiwan Island, and conduct joint air and sea exercises in the sea and air spaces of the northern, southwestern and south-eastern Taiwan Island, conduct long-range live ammunition firing in the Taiwan Strait, and organize regular-guided-fire testing in the eastern waters of Taiwan Island,” Col. Shi Yi, spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command, said.
“This action is a solemn deterrent against the recent major escalation of the negative actions of the United States on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” the statement added.
The Eastern Theater is one of the five joint commands of the People’s Liberation Army with jurisdiction over China’s eastern coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, which is situated opposite and above Taiwan.