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)

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan should be noted for two things 

On the line, the arrow is poised to burst. The Taiwan Strait scenario is on the verge of becoming tense despite China’s emphatic warning. The following two details deserve special attention: 

First and foremost, all of this is “Pelosi’s personal behavior.” Biden previously stated, posing as the military, that he knew little about the specifics of Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan but that “the military does not believe this is a wise decision.” Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan would be up to her, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who still “called on China not to aggravate tensions.” The White House can say that Pelosi was not permitted to visit Taiwan by using the seeming “White House does not know, Pelosi is completely accountable” routine. This is essentially a ruse to cover the reality; the real goal is to cut out Pelosi’s personal activity. 

Want to cause trouble, agitate the situation, and withdraw into delusion? Nothing in the entire world compares to this. Whether Pelosi is in Taiwan or not is a contentious issue for the US today: 

If Pelosi cancels her trip to Taiwan, it will be a poor representation of the waning of American influence in Asia. At that point, the United States’ standing in the international community would be significantly diminished, and China may utilize diplomatic techniques to dissuade the United States, unquestionably boosting China’s power. Pelosi would surely start a chain reaction of tensions across the Taiwan Strait if she insists on going to Taiwan. If she dares to travel, let’s wait and see, said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. 

Second, Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was pointless. Pelosi’s main “merit” this time, as has already been said, is that she totally exposed the American paper tiger. Pelosi wouldn’t have to be as sly as she is today if it weren’t for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s threat. She may enter and exit with swagger, making the DPP officials and the pro-”Taiwan independence” forces even more careless. 

No matter how Pelosi acts, one thing should be clear: she is only visiting Taiwan and has no significance. First, the reality that Taiwan Region is a part of China cannot be changed. Second, it is impossible to alter the Taiwan Strait’s power dynamics. Thirdly, and most significantly, she is powerless to change the likelihood of “Taiwan independence.” 

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But they won’t ever consent to such a severe provocation. The Chinese side has sufficient strategies in place to deal with Pelosi’s inflow of power. The People’s Liberation Army conducted at least five military drills in the waters around the Taiwan Strait before Pelosi traveled for Asia, including live-fire operations in each of its three main combat zones. 

Conclusion 

The risky actions of Pelosi lead to new and more complex problems, not only for the two countries concerned but for the wider region. After tensions in Russia and Ukraine, now tensions between China and Taiwan add to the region countries’ homework, East Asia, which has been full of potential open conflicts, will impact the political constellations in the surrounding region such as Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific. Promoting US Free and Open Indo-Pacific mission into Taiwan that Pelosi said, increasing signal that Indo-Pacific tensions will be affected. 

China’s might has risen. It is more confident in responding to emergencies. Now, the general public is also quite unified. The approach and actions taken to tackle the crisis are determined by China’s strategic aim of accomplishing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. They are taking more strategic risks than ever before. They were more passive in previous Taiwan Strait crises. They now have a greater opportunity to actively influence and drive the evolution of the situation. Furthermore, China and the United States may learn from previous exchanges and crisis responses to better manage future escalation. 

Taiwan can clearly see that Pelosi is currently exploiting Taiwan as a stage for dull self-promotion, and the innocent people of Taiwan are bearing the brunt of everything. 

Raihan Ronodipuro earned a Master of Law in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs at Jilin University in China. He serves as an Associate Researcher in the Department of Politics and Security at the Center for Indonesia-China Studies (CICS)