Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan in support of democracy, defying China’s threats of military response.
Since their civil war in 1949, Taiwan has claimed national sovereignty, and China has claimed the island as their territory. While the United States officially backs China on this matter, it has always maintained informal relations and ties with Taiwan as a semi-separate entity.
The key word being informal.
China views official visits from foreign governments as tacit support for the island’s independence. When U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unofficially announced her planned visit to Taipei, Beijing announced that they would commit ‘resolute and strong measures’ if she carried through. The Biden administration publicly reassured Beijing that their ‘one-China policy’ remains unchanged, but Speaker Pelosi still arrived in Taipei last Tuesday.
Overnight, China announced a series of military operations and drills,which took place in the waters and skies near Taiwan, including firing of long-range ammunition just offshore.
“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 the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces seeking ‘independence,’” said a communication from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Pelosi’s visit is connected to her visit to Kyiv this spring, weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“It is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats,” Speaker Pelosi wrote in an opinion piece published along with her arrival in Taiwan. “We must stand by Taiwan.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called her visit a ‘betrayal,’ called the U.S. “the world’s biggest saboteur of peace,” and that it was “bankrupting its national credibility.”
The White House has not stated support for Speaker Pelosi’s visit, saying that they will not deepen tensions with China nor “engage in saber rattling.” They are, however, moving several naval and air force assets closer to the island.