Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan: A Risky Provocation for Sino-US Relations

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TAIWAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (left) with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taiwan’s capital late Tuesday (2/8). (Source: TAIWAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS)

According to the story, Pelosi took the initiative to phone Taiwan’s envoy in the United States, Xiao Meiqin on July 20, stating she had intended to lead a group to Taiwan on August 3, but was informed of Taiwan’s choice. She must find out the facts for herself after withdrawing the invitation. According to Xiao Meiqin, “there is no retraction of the invitation; there may be a lapse in the transfer of information.” 

Pelosi reportedly told Xiao Meiqin that she had twice contemplated visiting Taiwan between January and April of this year, but it wasn’t until this third plan that she finally agreed to go. Mid-term elections are taking place this year, and Congress has a ton of legislative work to do. To express my support for Taiwan, “I am still willing to take time out of my busy schedule to visit Taiwan.” 

The Speaker of the House who visits Taiwan the following time will be someone else if this trip is unsuccessful because “there is just no other more opportune moment.” If Pelosi thinks early August is the greatest time to visit Taiwan, then of course welcome, said Xiao Meiqin in response. 

According to reports, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin informed Pelosi on July 22. Kurt Campbell, the US National Security Council’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs, reportedly met with Xiao Meiqin that evening “Visits to Taiwan right now could run into problems. Security concerns and potential Chinese intimidation”. 

Campbell stated to Xiao Meiqin that the White House had warned Pelosi of the dangers of spending several days in Taiwan in mid- to late July and hoped that she would reconsider the decision. Pelosi was “unexpectedly quite irritated,” stating that she would only be open to the idea if US President Biden directly requested it. Campbell was up front when he stated that it was difficult to convince Pelosi in person given the state of Biden’s health and the political landscape. 

The DPP officials are highly aware of the “Taiwan Strait issue” that Pelosi’s travel would generate, the report stated, no less than the scenario that existed in the Taiwan Strait during the missile crisis in 1996. Therefore, Pelosi could visit Taiwan following the visit, as reported in the media on July 18. 

Pelosi also knew that this trip might escalate the situation in the Taiwan Strait to a state of war and danger, but even if the US side is dissuaded by the administrative department, she still insists on pursuing a personal historical position. The DPP authorities had secretly withdrawn the invitation to Pelosi, but they continued to arrange the reception despite Pelosi’s criticism.