It's just an American politician planning to visit a small Asian country as part of a boring diplomatic tour. That's what US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan should have been, except it has been turned into a geopolitical circus, with the world watching with its fingers crossed.
Nancy Pelosi's maybe, may-not-be visit to Taiwan has triggered China, enough to threaten a literal military action.
What's happening now:
Xiamen, #Fujian today!
1. China is sending multiple rocket launchers to Fujian
2. The Air traffic in the area has been regulated to enable fighter movement
3. The PLA carried out live fire drills last night#Taiwan #China #Pelosi pic.twitter.com/5Ow6Ob6NlH— Saikiran Kannan (@saikirankannan) August 2, 2022
As Pelosi makes to enter Taiwan against objection by China, the Chinese military released this video as visual show of force... pic.twitter.com/t8vOP4Aw24— odinakabiafra (@odinakabiafra2) August 1, 2022
A US military aircraft(SPAR20) which took off from Japan early in the morning today, has just landed in Kuala Lumpur. Interesting, Pelosi's flight Spar19 (same aircraft type) is also here. Something definitely is gonna happen tonight.#Pelosi #Taiwan #佩洛西 #台湾 pic.twitter.com/EYBr3Yu2ky— John Connor (@viktor504860) August 2, 2022
Context: Chinese President Xi Jinping recently dialed US President Joe Biden ahead of Nancy Pelosi's rumoured visit to Taiwan. Beijing has issued several warnings over Pelosi's possible Taiwan visit, which are not the usual diplomatic rebuke or threats to cut off trade.
Beijing has warned of military consequences, threats to Nancy Pelosi herself, and even an invasion or "reunification" of Taiwan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian during a press conference on Monday, August 1 said, "If you play with fire, you will get burned. I believe the US is fully aware of the strong and clear message delivered by China."
He also said that the "PLA will not sit idly by" and that they will take "resolute and strong countermeasures".
A visit to Taiwan by Speaker Pelosi would challenge China’s red line, and any challenge to our red line will no doubt be met with resolute countermeasures. pic.twitter.com/KR5c1mZRWK— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) July 29, 2022
Global Times, considered a CPC mouthpiece said that "PLA could send warplanes to intercept her (Nancy Pelosi) plane should she attempt to land in Taiwan".
It also said that "China will use this provocative move by the US to irreversibly change the Taiwan Straits situation and speed up the reunification process".
China's relations with Taiwan: China considers "Taipei", its name for Taiwan, as part of its national sovereignty. On the other hand, Taiwan has been fighting for independence from China and thwarting its sovereign claims. Due to its complicated status, China has efficiently barred the world from recognising Taiwan as an official country, even the UN or the US do not recognise the island as an independent country.
Any military actions from CCP to Speaker Pelosi's visit are unprovoked and unjustified.— Nathan Law 羅冠聰 (@nathanlawkc) August 1, 2022
China wants to cut Taiwan off from global affairs, which this idea shouldn't have existed in the first place. The visit doesn't break the status quo over sovereignty dispute; only war does.
China says it will take Pelosi's visit to Taiwan as a US state-sanctioned provocation against Beijing. Pelosi herself has a history of being hawkish towards China. She has a history of protesting against human rights violations in China, supporting the Tibet cause, and raising the issue of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
What the US says: The US National Security Council (NSA) spokesperson John Kirby said that Pelosi has every right to visit Taiwan if she wishes. However, Kirby stopped short of confirming her trip. But US President Joe Biden himself admitted that the military thinks it might not be the right time for Pelosi to visit Taiwan.
The Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) has not confirmed any travel plans and it is for the Speaker to do so, and her staff. We won't be commenting or speculating about the stops on her trip...the Speaker has a right to visit Taiwan: US National Security coordinator John Kirby pic.twitter.com/WQ7pgJ4hYq— ANI (@ANI) August 1, 2022
The White House has also made it clear that if China reacts aggressively to Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, then the aggression would be "entirely on China".
While the US has not officially confirmed Pelosi's visit, Taiwanese official sources have confirmed to the media that she will be landing on the island as soon as Tuesday evening.
Analysts look at it as a bullying situation, where China is the big bad bully and the US is in a fix. If the US listens to the bully, they will be emboldening it, if it doesn't it sends a strong message but also risks aggression.
Why must Nancy Pelosi go to Taiwan, and defy China? Because cardinal rule of schoolyard bullying is that if you back down, bully becomes even more contemptuous of you, and gets more emboldened over long run. This is a basic historical lesson from days of Chamberlain and Hitler.— Simon Boyi Chen (@simonbchen) August 2, 2022
Trump agrees that the Pelosi Taiwan trip is about insider trading and pumping semiconductor stocks. Be wary! pic.twitter.com/JdXfxNTehG— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 1, 2022
On the other hand, the Republicans in US have condemned Pelosi's possible visit to Taiwan saying that she's bringing the war to Americans. Others accused her of risking military tension between two world superpowers for her husband's business interests in the chip manufacturing industry, in which Taiwan happens to be the world leader.