Showdown between USA and China

The Chinese foreign ministry accused the US of “playing with fire” after Pelosi’s landing. The US actions in Taiwan are “extremely dangerous,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday evening (local time). “Whoever plays with fire will die in it.” China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping used the same words last week in a telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden. According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng summoned US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns to protest Pelosi’s visit.

Pelosi, in turn, assured Taiwan of continued US support after her arrival. Her visit underscores the “unwavering commitment of the United States to support the vibrant democracy in Taiwan,” said the democrat after landing in the capital, Taipei. “America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important now than ever as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” Pelosi said. At the same time as she arrived, a comment was published in the Washington Post in which the US Democrat justified her trip.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has finally arrived in Taiwan for a visit. Your plane landed in the capital Taipei on Tuesday evening (local time). The top politician ignored warnings from China, which sees the democratic island as part of the People’s Republic.

Highest US visit in 25 years

Not least because of the Ukraine war, Pelosi’s visit is considered sensitive. Critics warned that the visit could further damage US-Chinese relations and open another US flank parallel to the Ukraine war. As Chair of the House of Representatives, the 82-year-old holds the third-highest office in the United States. She is the highest-ranking US politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Pelosi wanted to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, and appointments in parliament were also planned.

Outline map of China and Taiwan

Graphics: APA/ORF.at

The US government never tires of emphasizing that the United States’ China policy has not changed. Pelosi herself also emphasized the unchanged US position after landing in Taipei. However, the symbolism of the visit cannot be dismissed out of hand. Since Taiwan split from China, Beijing has wanted to reunite the island with the mainland. With reference to its “One China Doctrine”, the Chinese leadership is attempting to isolate Taiwan internationally.

Chinese threat

Accordingly, Beijing was working on setting up a threatening backdrop around Pelosi’s visit. Military reactions had already been discussed in the Chinese state media in advance, ranging to the establishment of a no-fly zone around Taiwan and missile tests. Relations between China and the United States “are almost on the razor’s edge,” wrote the party-affiliated newspaper “Global Times” on the short message service Twitter. “The countermeasures that the high command is planning to deal with Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan must be far more rigorous and extensive than can be imagined. China’s warning to the US is not idle talk.”

Report on Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

ZIB correspondent Josef Dollinger talks, among other things, about China’s reaction to the visit to Taiwan by US politician Nancy Pelosi.

The Chinese leadership has remained open as to how far the military trial of strength will actually go. A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday evening that “the People’s Liberation Army of China is on high alert and will respond with a series of targeted military actions.” It is about repelling “the interference of foreign forces and separatist attempts by independence forces in Taiwan”.

USA: Expect longer-term reactions from Beijing

The United States also sent four warships to the waters east of Taiwan, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. US Navy circles said it was a routine operation. The US government expects longer-term reactions from China, as the communications director of the National Security Council, John Kirby, said in Washington on Tuesday. He could not name an exact period of time, but the US leadership is counting on military maneuvers or economic measures. So far, China’s response has been fully in line with what the US government expected and predicted, Kirby said.

US sends aircraft carriers to Taiwan

The US has deployed warships and the Japan-based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to the waters east of Taiwan. US Navy circles said it was a routine operation. Although the ships are capable of responding to any eventuality, they are normal, routine operations, said an official who declined to be named. He did not want to comment on the exact location of the warships. At the same time, China’s military intensified the threat with manoeuvres, target practice, military aircraft and warships near Taiwan and with the closure of sea areas.

Taiwan itself had previously increased its combat readiness, as reported by the CNA news agency. The two-stage alarm system is not yet a classification for the “emergency”, but rather a “normal operational readiness”.

US “Strategic Ambiguity”.

Washington formally broke off relations with Taiwan in 1979 when it recognized Beijing as China’s sole representative and the Chinese heartland became an important trading partner for the United States. At the same time, the US played a crucial, at times delicate, role in supporting Taiwan. For example, the United States is required by law to supply Taiwan with military equipment to ensure Taipei’s defense capability.

Washington reserves a “strategic ambiguity” as to whether it would actually intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion. This is intended to deter China from a possible invasion while preventing Taiwan from formally declaring its independence.

With the outbreak of the Ukraine war, concerns grew that Beijing might adopt a similar approach to that of Russia when dealing with Taiwan. Against this background, Biden said in May that the United States would provide military support to Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. Biden’s statements caused sharp reactions in China, and the White House then had to backtrack. Since then, Washington and Biden have repeatedly asserted that US policy on Taiwan has not changed.

outrage here and there

China now also received backing from Russia. Pelosi’s visit was a “clear provocation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in the evening. China has the right to take measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the ministry said. “Everything related to this tour and the possible visit to Taiwan naturally carries a highly provocative note,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax agency. “We want to emphasize once again that we are in absolute solidarity with China.” Everything about the planned visit is “provocative”.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, on the other hand, caused outrage in China with statements. The head of the European department at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Lutong, officially protested to the German ambassador in Beijing, Patricia Flor, on Tuesday. He spoke of “wrong comments” by Baerbock, as emerged from a tweet by the senior Chinese diplomat.

Baerbock traveled to New York on Monday to attend the NPT Review Conference. After her arrival, she said: “We do not accept when international law is broken and a larger neighbor attacks its smaller neighbor in violation of international law – and that of course also applies to China.” On Tuesday, Baerbock gave a speech on transatlantic relations at a New York College again. “China’s statements regarding Taiwan have raised serious questions,” said the German Foreign Minister.

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