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Nancy Pelosi to Visit Taiwan

Tuesday marks the culmination of weeks of debate between the United States and China over whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should travel to Taiwan.

The controversial visit by Pelosi to Taipei, where she would be the highest-ranking American official to do so in decades, suggests that the Pentagon has revised down its assessment of a serious military danger from China to the speaker’s safety.

Beijing has vocally denounced Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan and given ominous threats of harsh retaliation. Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stated on Monday that “her going to Taiwan would represent a blatant intervention in China’s internal affairs… and lead to a very severe situation and terrible consequences.”

Taiwan

Despite the bluster, Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which was a stop on a congressional tour of four Asian nations, implies that the two sides have reached a grudging compromise that will allow for progress while reducing the risk of errors at a time of increased bilateral tensions. Without going into any detail, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated on Monday that “one of our obligations is to make sure that she can travel freely and securely and I can guarantee you that she will.”

Dennis Fritz, director of the Eisenhower Media Network and a retired command chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force, said: “There’s no doubt in my opinion that the military-to-military are having communications… to make sure there’s no accident that might happen.”

Although unconfirmed, such bilateral military negotiations are likely to take place in conjunction with diplomatic outreach to make sure Beijing is well informed about Pelosi’s visit and lessen the likelihood of harmful misinterpretations of U.S. intentions.

According to Craig Singleton, senior China scholar at the non-profit Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “the U.S. will communicate comprehensive information about Speaker Pelosi’s flight intentions to China’s military prior to her arrival in Taiwan.” Washington’s unwavering devotion to its “One China” policy and the trip’s very restricted objectives will be communicated by U.S. officials both publicly and privately, they said. and make an effort to control and minimise the media’s coverage of the trip.

Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan won’t be confirmed by the White House

Pelosi claimed earlier this month that the Pentagon had made a threat that if her travel went through, her plane “would get shot down.”

When he said earlier this month that the U.S. military thought the scheduled trip was “not a good idea right now,” President Joe Biden emphasised those worries.

Snr. Col. Tan Kefei, the spokeswoman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, stoked such anxieties last week when he predicted that Pelosi’s travel to the independent island would lead to “further escalation of hostility over the Taiwan Straits.” According to the congressional official, U.S. authorities have recently come to the conclusion that China’s aggressiveness is an intimidation strategy.

The Chinese government is attempting to challenge long-standing norms of American interaction with the self-governing island, as seen by their rhetoric. Congress delegations from the United States frequently travel to Taiwan, and according to American law — the 2018 Taiwan Travel Act — “officials at all levels of the United States government… may meet with their Taiwanese counterparts.”

Pelosi is “extremely thrilled” about a potential trip to Asia.

However, the CCP views “reunification with Taiwan,” a region that it has never controlled, as a “historical task.” Since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party was elected in 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping has intensified pressure on the island with a never-ending campaign of antagonism.

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The legitimacy of Xi as he runs this fall for an unprecedented third term as China’s president depends on his firm stance towards Taiwan. The head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Liu Jieyi, called “national reunification,” Beijing’s code for annexing Taiwan, as a “inevitable need” of Xi’s aggressive “national rejuvenation” programme earlier this month.

“The fairly aggressive statements we’ve had from China over the past few weeks are probably more for domestic [consumption] than international [consumption],” said Ret. Vice Adm. Robert B. Murrett, professor of practise at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. “The Chinese leadership cannot be seen as backing down in any shape or form.” “President Xi can’t be seen backing down from what might be regarded as a challenge by the speaker’s visit to Taiwan, and politically, the Congress and the [Biden] administration can’t be seen backing down, too,”

Beijing’s “live fire exercises” off the coast of Fujian, which are Taiwan’s neighbour, on Saturday backed up its criticism of Pelosi’s travel arrangements. On Monday, the politically charged 95th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s Maritime Safety Administration issued a warning over an additional five days of military drills in the region beginning on Tuesday. This was in advance of Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan.

But Pelosi’s visit shouldn’t be jeopardised by those activities. However, the PLA is anticipated to show some strength in the Taiwan Strait, which will project authority over Taiwan without running the risk of a military conflict and will be hailed by Chinese state media as a sign of Xi’s iron resolve.

There wouldn’t be any engagement, but PLA Air Force planes might follow her trip into or out of Taiwan, according to Murrett. “Aircraft from hostile nations constantly [shadow] each other… it’s usually handled extremely effectively.”

The Pelosi visit will unavoidably increase China’s misgivings about American policy toward Taiwan and could lead to a longer-term escalation of the island’s ongoing military intimidation.

Fritz predicted that there would be some sort of reaction. There is little doubt that there will be more aggressive [PLA] live fire drills in the future.

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