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Why is China furious over Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit? What's next?

Vivek Mishra
Vivek MishraAug 03, 2022 | 10:47

Why is China furious over Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit? What's next?

Nancy Pelosi walks with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, as she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday. (Photo: Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping had warned the US not to "play with fire", but that didn't stop US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from visiting Taiwan on Tuesday. Pelosi became the highest-ranking US official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China.

Not only did she visit Taiwan despite warnings of military action by China, the 82-year-old also said that the visit honours America’s commitment to supporting Taiwan’s democracy.

"America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy," she said.

 

Taiwan said Pelosi's trip shows "rock solid" support from Washington

China furious: China's foreign ministry said Pelosi's visit seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, "It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations and seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the statement said.

  • Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait and the Chinese military was put on high alert. The Chinese defence ministry also said that it will launch "targeted military operations".
  • The Chinese military announced joint air and sea drills near Taiwan starting on Tuesday night and test launches of missiles in the sea east of Taiwan, reported Reuters.

What is the Taiwan issue? Taiwan has been ruled separately from China since 1949, but Beijing considers it part of its territory and wants the island to be reunified. China has not ruled out using military force to take it.

  • The US on many occasions has said that it will provide military support to Taiwan. Taiwan's 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion.

  • China views visits by US officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp on the island. Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide the island's future, reported Reuters.

Russia backs China: Russia, which has invaded Ukraine for over 160 days now, said that Pelosi's visit was pure provocation and that it is in solidarity with China. The USA is a state provocateur," said Maria Zakharova, Russia's foreign ministry, reported AFP.

"Russia confirms the principle of 'one China' and opposes the independence of the island in any form," she said.

China had also earlier refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Buzz over Pelosi's visit: Pelosi's visit to Taiwan had created such a buzz that many people were tracking the US military plane ferrying her on FlightRadar that the website said some users experienced outages.

From take off to touchdown, 2.92 million users followed at least a portion of the flight between Kuala Lumpur and Taiwan.

What's next? After her visit, Pelosi also said that the visit is one of several Congressional delegations to Taiwan and that it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, US-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances.

  • China’s military threats have driven concerns about a new crisis in the 140-kilometre Taiwan Strait. It has also put pressure on companies manufacturing semiconductor chips and their share prices have tumbled.
  • Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that China had sent 21 planes flying toward Taiwan, 18 of them fighter jets. The rest included an early warning plane and an electronic warfare plane, reported AP.
  • Though China may keep sending fighter jets and increase the military drills, it is highly unlikely that it is going to conquer Taiwan anytime soon. US, on the other hand, might increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific region to give Taiwan a sense of security.
Last updated: August 03, 2022 | 11:53
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