On 2 August 2022, Nancy Pelosi Taiwan, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, traveled to Taiwan to discuss a trade agreement. She was accompanied by five other Democratic Party members. Upon arrival, Pelosi met with President Tsai and introduced herself to the people of Taiwan.
Although Pelosi’s office declined to confirm her plans in advance, reports of her visit began to circulate. Taiwan’s three largest newspapers said Pelosi would spend the night in the island nation. The White House, which has repeatedly emphasized that Taiwan is a sovereign nation, says there is no reason for the country to escalate its tensions with China. However, there is still a cloud hanging over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Pelosi’s visit may have consequences beyond the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese military has recently announced four days of military exercises in the waters around Taiwan, raising fears of conflict. This may disrupt food and supply chains. Beijing has also banned the import of some items from Taiwan. Pelosi has defended the right of Taiwan’s citizens to practice their democracy. She has stated that her visit to Taiwan will not change that position.
While Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is likely to increase tensions, the trip is unlikely to signal a significant change in US policy. Instead, she will likely reaffirm that the United States and Taiwan share common values and will continue to pursue bilateral relations. This approach would further embolden Beijing.
China has responded to Pelosi Taiwan visit by announcing military exercises around Taiwan and issuing coordinated statements condemning the visit. Chinese government ministries said she’d violate the “one China” policy and downgrade their official ties with Taiwan. However, officials in the Biden administration said the visit does not mean any significant change in US policy.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a rare and highly controversial visit for an elected U.S. official. Beijing has been claiming Taiwan as its territory and has threatened to retake it by force. A state-run Chinese broadcaster also released images of Chinese forces in Taiwan preparing for planned exercises.
Pelosi Taiwan trip to Taiwan comes as the Chinese navy prepares to conduct large live-fire drills around Taiwan. Beijing has also said that it will conduct military exercises around Taiwan starting Thursday. China’s Communist Party claims Taiwan as its own territory and has not ruled out using force to bring it under Beijing’s control. While the United States abides by the “One China” policy, it has also committed to selling weapons to Taiwan to use against China in self-defense.
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