It is a big lie that the world has become a more peaceful place after the Second World War. It has not. Though, it is true that mass level conflicts have been replaced by minor skirmishes. For one, the United States and China keep getting embroiled on Taiwan’s sovereign status. Turns out, amidst the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis, Democrats in the USA are looking for new conflicts to keep their military-industry complex happy.
Pelosi wants to visit Taiwan
Nancy Pelosi seems to be planning to take a small break from passing on stock trading tips to her husband. The 82-year old speaker Pelosi of the United States House of Representatives is planning to visit Taiwan in August. According to a report by the Financial Times, the purpose of visit of Pelosi is to support for the Taiwan.
If the trip goes through as reported, then it will be the first visit to Taiwan by a senior lawmaker of the United States in 25 years. In 1997, Republican Newt Gingrich had visited the region when he was in opposition. Since, Biden and Nancy belong to the same party, it is expected that her stand on the issue will be treated as the government’s stance.
History of US-China confrontation over Taiwan
It is not the first time that both countries have come at loggerheads over Taiwan. China and Taiwan separated in 1949, but China still considers it a part of mainland China, while Taiwanese leaders disagree with that opinion.
During the initial years of cold war, the USA and China were on different ends of spectrum. However, around 1970, both countries started to increase their partnership in an attempt to contain the rise of USSR.
The current US-China relationship is based on 3 communiquies issued by both countries in 1972, 1979, and 1982. Under these documents, the United States has expressed its full agreement to One-China policy. However, in accordance with its purpose of existence, USA has flip-flopped on its stance as well.
In mid-90s, Bill Clinton allowed Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s first democratically elected president to visit the United States. In spite of China and Taiwan working on “one country, two systems”, perceiving it as anti-China policy, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) test-fired missiles. Clinton too responded with the biggest display of America’s military might in post-Vietnam war era.
Jinping can’t let Taiwan go
Later Taiwan’s rise in semiconductor arena also became one of the reasons why the US would want to hold it in its sphere of influence. Meanwhile, China has a dream of replacing United States as a superpower, which is not possible without dominance on Chips industry.
Additionally, Xi Jinping has carved out an image of imperialist amongst his party colleagues as well as other members of the CCP. It will be political suicide for him to skirt off his hands from Taiwan. Jinping’s aggressive stance on Taiwan can be observed in the way which China has responded to any kind of provocation on the issue.
Pelosi repeating the mistake?
Pelosi had made similar announcements in April as well. Accordingly, China reportedly responded with a Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft flying to the east of the island. Then Chinese Embassy asked Pelosi to cancel her trip. Pelosi did oblige and citing her covid-19 infection, she cancelled her planned trip. Additionally, United States was also lectured by China to respect its territorial sovereignty in the same way it was vouching for Ukraine.
China has responded with similar intensity this time too. Zhao Lijan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson explicitly asked the Biden administration to not support Taiwanese independence. He said and I quote “The US must not arrange for Speaker Pelosi to visit the Taiwan region and must stop official interactions with Taiwan, stop creating factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and follow through on the US commitment of not supporting Taiwan independence,”. Moreover, Hu Xijn, former editor-in-Chief of Global times has appealed to the CCP to galvanise military aircraft to escort Pelosi’s plane.
Biden is scared
Meanwhile, it seems as if Joseph Biden has got the message loud and clear. He seems to have developed an understanding that Chinese Military is superior to the United States. Well in one way, it is true as well. US military is in constant decline and it is now facing man-force shortage as well. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that U.S. military officials believe it’s “not a good idea” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan at the moment.
The United States knows that its decline is near. China is a competitor. This is one of the reasons why Taiwan dominated this year’s QUAD summit as well. Xi Jinping is set to face his polit bureau later this year while Biden will be facing mid-terms. It will be interesting duel to watch.
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