Washington has infuriated Beijing again with its approaches to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China does not renounce to unify by force, considering it part of its territory. The Chinese government warned this Tuesday that it will take “resolute and forceful measures” if the president of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visits Taiwan in August, as she has advanced that she plans the newspaper Financial Times (FT). The spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, said during the daily press conference that any trip by the 82-year-old legislator to the island “would seriously undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the Asian giant. The Taiwanese question is the most important, and most sensitive, issue between the world’s two largest economic powers and a constant source of friction in their diplomatic relations.
If it happens, Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan would be the first in 25 years by a US House Speaker to the island. “If Pelosi, a Democrat like Joe Biden, visits Taiwan, no one will believe that it is because the president ‘is not able to control it.’ His trip will be part of one more trick by Washington to manipulate this issue, ”Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Chinese nationalist daily, wrote on Weibo (the Chinese Twitter). Global Times. In less than an hour since its publication, the message has more than 4,300 “likes” on this social network. The journalist has also suggested Chinese Army pilots fly over Taiwanese airspace alongside Pelosi’s plane, a post that has nearly 10,000 interactions.
Pelosi already canceled a trip to Taiwan in April because she had contracted covid-19. Then Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called it “a malicious provocation.” If it takes place in August, the visit would come at a time when relations between the US and China are going through their worst moment since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in 1979, when Washington recognized the government in Beijing as representing China.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, for its part, has stated that it is “strongly opposed to any kind of official contact between the US and Taiwan.” Spokesman Liu Pengyu added that a visit “would have a negative impact on the political foundation of China-US relations and send a very wrong signal to Taiwanese separatist forces.”
Bilateral ties between China and the rest of the countries are governed by the concept of “One China”, an expression that implies that there is only one China, and that this includes Taiwan, where the nationalist troops defeated by the communist army took refuge in 1949. in the civil war. Since Tsai Ing Weng, a supporter of estrangement from Beijing, was elected president of Taiwan in 2016, the rhetoric of the Chinese authorities has been increasingly assertive about a future unification, which they consider “inevitable”.
In addition, since last year, China has increased the frequency and size of its military exercises near Taiwanese waters, and its fighters and bombers have frequently entered Taiwan’s defense airspace. Faced with this situation, in May, US President Joe Biden stated that his country would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an invasion by China. A month later, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said the military would “crush any attempt at Taiwan independence” and warned the US to stop trying to contain China: “If someone forces a war against China, The People’s Liberation Army will neither be afraid nor doubt”.
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On Monday, less than 24 hours after this news was known, China had asked the US to immediately cancel the possible sale of a military package to Taiwan, for an estimated value of 108 million dollars (more than 105 million euros).
The date chosen by Pelosi and her delegation is especially sensitive for China for two reasons: first, because August 1 marks the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, and second, because it would be an extremely sensitive matter. ahead of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled for the fall, and when Xi Jinping is expected to be re-elected for a third term. No Chinese leader has been in power for so long since Mao Zedong ruled.
“China is convinced that Congress [estadounidense] and the Executive are in cahoots to contain its rise”, the FT quotes Bonnie Glaser, a political scientist at the Marshall Fund, who considers that Beijing has become “hypersensitive” before the celebration of the Party Congress. “Being Pelosi a Democrat like Biden, her trip is interpreted as a strategy to use Taiwan as a card against China and provide official support for its independence.”
Nevertheless, Financial Times echoes that there are divisions within the US government about the visit. According to two sources familiar with the matter, some officials believe it was easier to justify the trip in April, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. For its part, the Hong Kong digital South China Morning Post It states that several international analysts consulted believe that Beijing could impose sanctions against Pelosi, increase military exercises in Taiwan and suspend cooperation on climate change with the US.
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