Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan: the Chinese response

Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan: the Chinese response

US bears full responsibility for all consequences of Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, China warns
Be enemy to 1.4m Chinese over Taiwan question ‘comes to no good end’
Chen Qingqing
As the world closely followed the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on Tuesday evening that is widely described as provocative and dangerous, the Biden administration gave more chicanery in distancing itself by stressing it was her personal choice and continued hollowing out the one-China principle that serves as the foundation of China-US relations. Chinese officials and experts warned that all the consequences of this highly dangerous and provocative move will be borne by Washington, and such visit will also forever change the cross-Straits situation and deliver a destructive impact on the already-difficult China-US relations. 

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng summoned US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on early Wednesday morning to protest against Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan island. The nature of Pelosi’s visit is extremely vicious and the consequence is very grave. The Chinese side will not sit idly by, Xie told Burns. 

Shortly after Pelosi arrived at the Taipei’s Songshan airport, five Chinese authorities including the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Taiwan Affairs Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee and the Ministry of National Defense issued statements condemning the visit, noting it seriously damages the political foundation of China-US relations and sends a wrong message to “Taiwan independence”forces. 

On Tuesday evening just a few hours ahead of the planned arrival time of Pelosi in Taiwan, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed China’s solemn position, warning that some US politicians who selfishly play with fire on the Taiwan question will become the enemies to 1.4 billion Chinese people, and won’t meet with a good end. This serves as a final warning to the US to stop it from falling to the cliff, experts said.   

Wang also said the US has violated its promise and is being treacherous on the Taiwan question, noting such behavior is beneath contempt.

Ahead of Pelosi’s visit to the island, some key White House officials tried to downplay the visit and shift the blame to China. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Monday that Pelosi “will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan. The Congress is an independent, coequal branch of government. The decision is entirely the speaker’s.” 

Blinken also said that members of Congress routinely go to the island, and “so if the speaker does decide to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that would be entirely on Beijing,” according to media reports. 

“Blinken’s words confound black with white, and exposes the hegemonic mindset of some US politicians, which is ‘I can make provocations against you as I please, but you cannot reject them or act in self-defense,'” Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a press briefing on Tuesday. It’s worth noting that after Hua was promoted to the position of assistant foreign minister, she rarely appeared at the ministry’s daily press briefing. 

Tuesday’s appearance was the first one in 159 days since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine military conflict, hinting on the seriousness of Pelosi’s planned visit. Hua also fully elaborated on China’s positions on the issue through five points from the legal basis to the historical background to US’ China containment strategy. 

In the three US-China Joint Communiqués, the US recognized the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China and within that context, the American people would continue to maintain cultural, commercial and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan. But as the No.3 political figure in the US, the US House of Representatives Speaker plans to take an aircraft of the US military to visit Taiwan, which is absolutely not a non-official act, Hua said. 

Besides Blinken, who mentioned the previous visit of the House Speaker to Taiwan, John Kirby, a National Security Council spokesperson, also described this potential visit “not uncommon” and also repeated on multiple occasions that “nothing has changed” with regards to US’ “One China Policy,” recognizing Taiwan as part of China, CNN said.

Previous mistakes made by certain US politicians do not make the following mistake legitimate, and the US shouldn’t make more mistakes on the Taiwan question, Hua said. 

Ignoring the consecutive stern warnings from the Chinese government over the trip, senior White House officials and US hawks continued hollowing out and blurring the one-China principle, letting its domestic laws override international laws, coming up with a series of wrong concepts and claims about the Taiwan question – the most important and sensitive issue within the China-US relations, Chinese experts said. The White House has lost the power of defining China-related policies including those concerning Taiwan to the Congress, reflecting the weakness and incapability of the Biden administration and its latest promise to the Chinese government on the matter could be “a slap in the face,” experts noted. 

China won’t let Pelosi’s visit serve as a bad example for other US allies to play the Taiwan card. In addition, senior Chinese officials have been repeatedly warning about the grave consequences of the trip, not only on the cross-Straits relations but also to the China-US relations, which have already been deteriorating over the past few years due to Washington’s misconceptions and misjudgment about Beijing. 

Cognitive warfare 

US officials have been increasingly taking bold actions to hollow out its “one China” policy and adopting a “salami-slicing” approach to erode the principle, for instance, by removing the wording on not supporting “Taiwan independence” in the US State Department website’s section on relations with Taiwan in May, playing tricks to obscure the perception that China has the absolute sovereignty over the island and frequently hyping up the false claims that Taiwan Straits is international waters and sending lawmakers to visit the island. 

“The US is unwilling to talk about the legal basis of the Taiwan question, as for the legal basis, no matter it’s international law or the three joint communiqués between China and the US, their arguments won’t make any sense,” Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

The US is using its so-called “one China” policy including the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances to override the one-China principle and playing some tricks such as encouraging some small countries like Lithuania to challenge China’s sovereignty, increasing the arms sale to Taiwan island and provocatively sending warships through the Taiwan Straits, and “there are tons of such examples,” Lü said. 

In recent years, the US claimed that it adheres to the one-China principle but it has been acting backward and even hollowing out the one-China principle, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. “It has not only inserted the so-called ‘Taiwan Relations Act’ and ‘the Six Assurances’ – both were unilaterally fabricated into its ‘one-China policy’ and it also violates the commitment of not engaging with the island officially and increasing arms sale,” Hua said, noting that many people in the US and in international community pointed out the danger of those moves. 

US to bear consequences 

Chinese experts believe that China’s strategic view is far greater than just playing a game of hawk-and-chicken with Pelosi on her so-called surprise visit to the island, as China will use this provocative move by the US to irreversibly change the Taiwan Straits situation and speed up the reunification process, which is actually much more important than a US politician’s visit. 

If the US believes Pelosi’s adventurist move can open a new door for Washington on the Taiwan question, that would be too naive, said experts, noting that it could only end US’ strategy of coercion on Taiwan. The experts added that no one should underestimate China’s determination for its reunification and rejuvenation, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis has just let the world see the consequence of pushing a major power into a corner. 

“China won’t allow another case like ‘Pelosi’s visit’ to happen again, which means we won’t let this visit to set a bad example for more countries such as the UK, France and Germany to follow suit, further hollowing out our sovereignty over Taiwan,” Lü said.  

As part of consecutive warnings, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson warned again on Tuesday that the US should abandon any attempt of playing the Taiwan card, faithfully abide by the one-China principle. “If the US insists on pursuing the wrong course of action, it will assume full responsibility for all serious consequences arising therefrom,” she said. 

China’s reaction will not just be a momentary action but will consider the whole security mechanism of Taiwan, Lü noted. When it comes to the countermeasures, the Chinese expert said the Chinese mainland will exercise its sovereignty and rights of control over the airspace on the island and adjacent sea areas around the island, to make sure no other case like ‘Pelosi’s visit’ could happen again, and to better safeguard national sovereignty.”

“For the China-US relations that have already encountered many difficulties, the visit would deal another heavy blow not only to the China-US relations but also to the world order,” a Beijing-based expert on international relations who preferred not to be identified told the Global Times. 

Chinese ambassador: Pelosi’s Taiwan visit will escalate tensions

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