Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan in August has induced panic in the Biden administration, provoked angry threats from China, and raised fears of sparking an international incident.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan in August has induced panic in the Biden administration, provoked angry threats from China, and raised fears of sparking an international incident.
- News of Speaker Pelosi’s visit leaked one week ago and spurred a swift response from China’s foreign ministry.
- A spokesman said her trip would “seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the United States would bear the consequences of its response.”
- The Biden administration is pressuring Pelosi behind the scenes to cancel her trip due to fears of rising tensions in the South China Sea, but the Speaker hasn’t budged.
- Those tensions spilled into public view after President Joe Biden made vague comments to the media pouring cold water on her trip, saying, “I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what the status of it is.”
- Several prominent Republicans backed Pelosi’s planned trip, including former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Trump Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered to go with the Speaker.
- Pelosi is a longtime critic of the People’s Republic of China. She notably unfurled a banner in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in support of pro-democracy protesters shortly after the Communist Party brutally suppressed protests there in 1989 and vocally supported the 2019 Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.
- The New York Times wrote the administration is “increasingly anxious” that China may move against Taiwan in the next eighteen months and is actively lobbying the Speaker to cancel her trip.
- Per The Washington Post, the Biden administration fears Pelosi’s trip “could spark [a] cross-strait crisis” between China and Taiwan. The administration is afraid the Communist Chinese leadership “would see Pelosi’s trip as a purposeful provocation by the United States.”
- CNN reported President Biden’s comments implying the military is opposed to Pelosi’s trip haven’t changed the Speaker’s mind. When asked, the Speaker said, “I think what the President was saying is that maybe the military was afraid of my plane getting shot down or something like that. I don’t know exactly.”
- FOX News reported Taiwan is holding air raid drills ahead of the Speaker’s planned visit in August. Pelosi would be the most senior US official to visit Taiwan since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich’s trip in 1997.
- National Review picked up the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s reaction to the news of Pelosi’s trip. Their spokesman said “If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract,” and “The United States should be held responsible for any serious consequences.”
- The Wall Street Journal criticized Biden’s comments on Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, which the editorial board argued “didn’t make the trip easier for anyone, least of all the House Speaker.” The president said, “the military” thinks her trip “is not a good idea right now,” without offering any further context.
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© Dominic Moore, 2022