Taiwan holds drills amid Pelosi visit concern, China tension
BEIJING (AP) — Taiwan’s capital staged air raid drills Monday and its military mobilized for routine defense exercises, coinciding with concerns over a forceful Chinese response to a possible visit to the island by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. While there was no direct link between China’s renewed threats and Taiwan’s defensive moves, they underscore the possibility of a renewed crisis in the Taiwan Strait, considered a potential hotspot for conflict that could envelop the entire region.
BEIJING (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to speak with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time in four months, with a wide range of bilateral and international issues on the table. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This combination image shows U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, Nov. 6, 2021, and China's President Xi Jinping in Brasília, Brazil, Nov. 13, 2019. Biden is planning to speak with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time in four months, with a wide range of bilateral and international issues on the table. But a potential visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is looming over the conversation set for Thursday, July 28, 2022, with China warning of a severe response if she travels to the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres, File)
But a potential visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is looming over the conversation set for Thursday, with China warning of a severe response if she travels to the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory.
China vows 'consequences' if Pelosi visits Taiwan
The Chinese military says it will not sit idly by if the US Speaker visits the self-governing island democracy.On Monday, China warned of "serious consequences" if Nancy Pelosi were to proceed with a visit to Taiwan in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the presidential phone call. However, spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated China's warnings over a Pelosi visit.
“If the U.S. insists on going its own way and challenging China's bottom line, it will surely be met with forceful responses," Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing. “All ensuing consequences shall be borne by the U.S."
Pelosi's office has yet to say when, or even if, she will proceed with the visit, but the timing is especially sensitive amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade, human rights and Taiwan.
While the U.S. has in recent years sent a Cabinet secretary and high-ranking former officials to Taiwan, Pelosi's status as the top congressional Democrat and second in line of succession to the presidency puts her in a separate category. The speaker has made standing up to China a key feature of her more than three decades in Congress.
Pelosi to Taiwan would be career capstone, despite warnings
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched her political career being tough on China -- a new congresswoman who dared to unfurl a pro-democracy banner in Beijing's Tiananmen Square during a 1991 visit with other U.S. lawmakers shortly after the student massacre. More than 30 years later, her interest in traveling to Taiwan presents a powerful diplomatic capstone. It has also contributed to tensions at the highest levels in Washington and Beijing among officials who worry a trip could prove provocative. As the U.S. balances its high-stakes relations with China, whether Pelosi will lead a delegation trip to Taiwan remains unknown.
© Provided by Associated Press FILE - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington on July 21, 2022. U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to speak with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time in four months, with a wide range of bilateral and international issues on the table. But a potential visit to Taiwan by Pelosi is looming over the conversation set for Thursday, July 28, with China warning of a severe response if she travels to the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
While Biden has no authority to prevent Pelosi visiting, China's authoritarian Communist government chooses to ignore the separation of powers in the U.S., saying Congress is beholden to the administration. In Beijing's perception, the fact both belong to the Democratic Party reinforces the notion that Pelosi is somehow working with Biden's assent.
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Despite that, Biden last week told reporters that U.S. military officials believed it was “not a good idea” for the speaker to visit the island at the moment. The Financial Times reported last week that Pelosi planned to visit Taiwan in August, a trip that had originally been planned for April but was postponed after she tested positive for COVID-19.
Pelosi would be the highest-ranking U.S. elected official to travel to Taiwan since Republican Newt Gingrich visited the island in 1997 when he served as House speaker. Gingrich and other prominent Republicans who are normally highly critical of Pelosi have offered their encouragement, saying China has no right to dictate where Americans can travel to.
China has given no details on what specific actions it would take in response, but experts say it could launch additional incursions into waters and airspace near Taiwan, or even cross the center line of the Taiwan Strait dividing the two. Some have speculated China might even attempt to prevent her plane from landing, something that would spark a major crisis and is generally considered unlikely.
Pelosi confirms trip to Asia, but no mention of Taiwan
BEIJNG (AP) — The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, confirmed Sunday she will visit four Asian countries this week but made no mention of a possible stop in Taiwan that has riled Beijing, which claims the island democracy as its own territory. Pelosi said in a statement she is leading a congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance.” Pelosi has yet to confirm news reports that she might visit Taiwan.
U.S. officials told The Associated Press that if Pelosi goes to Taiwan, the military will increase movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region.
They declined to provide details, but said that fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide overlapping rings of protection for her flight to Taiwan and any time on the ground there.
A possible Pelosi visit makes it even more important that Xi and Biden hold a meaningful discussion, said Yu Wanli, a professor of international relations at Beijing Language and Culture University.
Although both their administrations are opposed to it, Pelosi’s visit “has been hijacked by U.S. domestic politics, with Republicans and other forces exerting pressure not to show weakness to China," Yu said.
“The issue of how China and the U.S. manage and control the Taiwan issue has become an urgent matter, and therefore the talk between the two leaders is very timely and necessary," he said.
The U.S. has only informal relations and defense ties with Taipei in deference to China, but remains the island's most important source of military and political support. Legally, the U.S. is obligated to ensure Taiwan can defend itself and regard threats to it as matters of “grave concern."
A richer, stronger China warns Pelosi not to visit Taiwan
BEIJING (AP) — Beijing grumbled but swallowed its irritation in 1997 when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich of the U.S. House of Representatives visited Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by the mainland’s ruling Communist Party as its own territory. China had other priorities. President Jiang Zemin’s government was preparing to celebrate Hong Kong’s return and wanted to lock in Beijing’s emergence from diplomatic isolation after its 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Gingrich, a booster of closer U.S.-Chinese ties, had just helped that campaign by meeting Jiang in Beijing. China avoided a disruptive clash with Washington.
China, which in recent years has boosted its threat to use force to annex Taiwan if necessary, objects to all U.S. arms sales and contacts with the island's government.
It regularly stages military exercises and flies warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, in what it calls warnings to supporters of the island's formal independence and their foreign allies.
The sides split amid civil war in 1949 and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has refused Beijing's demand that she recognize the island as a part of China. Public sentiment in Taiwan strongly favors maintaining the status quo of de-facto independence without further antagonizing Beijing.
Along with Taiwan, North Korea’s nuclear program, Beijing's close ties to Russia, efforts by Biden to revive the Iran nuclear deal and the status of the U.S. administration’s review of tough tariffs imposed on China by the Trump administration are likely to feature in discussions between the leaders.
Taiwan was a central topic during Biden and Xi’s last call in March, about three weeks after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. China has refused to criticize Russia's move, blames the U.S. and NATO for provoking Moscow and has blasted punishing sanctions imposed on Vladimir Putin's government and political cronies.
Joe Biden To Make Most Important Call of Presidency to China's Xi Jinping .
The leaders of the two major powers will talk over existing frictions as well as new uncertainties thrown up by Nancy Pelosi's travel plans.The competitive nature of the contemporary relationship has left many fearing a mishap in Asia, one that could spark a wider conflict with global consequences. Crisis management between the two militaries therefore will be high on the agenda for the talks, their fifth in the last 18 months and the latest since March.