Pelosi will visit US allies in the Indo-Pacific region this week with several members of Congress, likely including Taiwan. According to local media, Pelosi will arrive there tomorrow, and spend the night in the capital, Taipei. She will address parliament there on Wednesday morning. China considers the self-governing island a rebellious Chinese province and therefore would regard such a move as a provocation.
The Chinese government has beefed up its military presence on and around the island in recent months, and has also increased economic pressure. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has fueled rumors of an invasion of Taiwan: China is watching with great interest the US response to Russian aggression. Washington does not have an official representation in Taiwan, but the law is obligated to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
Strong and decisive action
Chinese President Xi Jinping has previously warned his US counterpart, Joe Biden, of the consequences of such a visit. China regards any official visit to the United States as a signal of support for the pro-independence camp on the island.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday again warned the United States of the consequences of what it called “blatant interference in China’s internal affairs”. “China is well prepared for all possible scenarios,” Zhao Lijian told the Chinese press in the capital, Beijing. “The People’s Liberation Army will not stand idly by, and China will surely take strong and decisive measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement said. Asked what actions he meant, Zhao said the world would “see, if he dares to come.”
“demonstration of power”
The White House also takes into account China’s military “show of force”. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, for example, that the Chinese could launch missiles around the island off the Chinese coast. He calls on the Chinese not to escalate tensions and says Pelosi’s visit will be entirely her decision, regardless of the US government. The minister says China will then have to “act responsibly”.
If Pelosi decides to visit Taiwan and China “attempts to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that will be Beijing’s responsibility alone.”
Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea
Pelosi made her first stop in Singapore today. There are talks with the government about starting an American Chamber of Commerce in the city-state. After that, the Democrat will also visit Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.
When the 82-year-old Pelosi visited Taiwan, she was the highest-ranking American politician on the island in decades. The Speaker of the House is politically number three in the United States, after President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.