House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — a long-time critic of the Chinese Communist Party — began her trip to Asia on Sunday but did not confirm if she would visit Taiwan and become the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit in 25 years.
Beijing threatened to impose sanctions if Pelosi flew to Taiwan. The Biden administration opposed the trip because it could lead either to a military confrontation with China, or further undermine the bilateral relationship.
The last time a U.S. official of her status visited Taiwan was in 1997, and the official was then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA). Gingrich told Pelosi that she should go, despite opposition from the Biden administration. She called it “timidity covered by insecurity, an eagerness to please people who aren’t Americans
” You have a Defense Department that is just as timid and dangerous as the State Department,” Gingrich stated at last week’s America First Policy Institute summit in Washington DC.
A number of Republicans have also asked Pelosi not to return to Beijing. This includes Sen. Rick Scott (R.FL), who recently visited Taiwan.
“China can be described as a country that is belligerent, with great people but terrible government. We have to stand for Japan, our great ally, not only Taiwan. He told Breitbart News that we are supporting South Korea as well as other Asian allies.
I was honored to visit Taiwan & meet President @ingwen, Premier @eballgogogo, @MOFA_Taiwan Minister Joseph Wu & others. I support Taiwanese citizens and will stand firm in my efforts to fight Communist China’s aggression and threats to Taiwan’s democratic system. pic.twitter.com/BSpXipGYpH
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) July 8, 2022
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee who visited Taiwan in May for the second consecutive time (D-IL),
Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of leading a congressional delegation that visited South Korea and Taiwan–two countries which are crucial to Illinois’s economic success–to foster and strengthen regional economic relations. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you. pic.twitter.com/ihJVEINe1H
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) June 6, 2022
Beijing — an authoritarian regime — claims Taiwan as its territory, despite Taiwan having its own government since Chinese nationalists fled to the island in 1945 after a civil war
Today, Taiwan is a thriving democracy of 23 million citizens and an economy that ranks around the 20th largest in the world. Although Taiwan considers it a country independent, China vows to “reunite” Taiwan, even if that means using force.
Although the U.S. cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan when it normalized relations with China in 1979 as part of its “one China policy,” Washington maintains a robust informal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and strongly opposes a military invasion of Taiwan by China.
The U.S. tried to preserve “strategic uncertainty” regarding the question of military interference — in which it hasn’t clarified whether it would protect Taiwan militarily from China’s invasion. This is a balance act that aims to both placate China and deter an invasion.
President Joe Biden repeatedly stated that the U.S. would help Taiwan militarily in the event of an invasion by China, but White House officials immediately dismissed his remarks — making it difficult to know what the Biden administration will actually do.
China’s current President Xi Jinping has intensified its diplomatic and military bullying of Taiwan, flying unprecedented numbers of sorties across the island. He also ripped away Taiwan’s diplomatic allies promising economic growth and a slew of diplomatic promises. Some experts believe that China could seek to invade Taiwan as early as 2027, which could prompt a U.S. military confrontation with Chinese forces.
In the interim, Taiwan increased its defense capacities and tried to strengthen its formal and informal diplomatic relations with democratic countries, such as the U.S. and other nations of the region, like Japan and Eastern Europe. As Ukraine faces an ongoing Russian invasion, Taiwan donated humanitarian aid.
Taiwan has also highlighted its role in warning the world of COVID-19 after the virus originated from Wuhan in China and Chinese officials tried to stop information about the infectious disease from getting out — costing the world precious time to react and letting it spread to the U.S. and around the world.
Michael Pillsbury, author of The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower and considered the nation’s leading authority on China by former President Donald Trump, told Breitbart News in an email on Sunday:
We need a Congressional review of the one China policy. China appears to be expanding its definition of Taiwan, which means that China has the power to dictate who U.S. officials and Congress members can visit Taiwan.
Remember, a number of American officials were’sanctioned” for violating Chinese sovereignty due to their trips to Taiwan. It was not the original China-China policy agreement.
Pillsbury added that the One China policy has “never actually been submitted as a document or treaty to the U.S. Congress,” and the U.S. has taken a stricter interpretation than necessary.
” My impression is that members of Congress only have a limited grasp of the terms and conditions of Henry Kissinger’s first agreement, then later of Jimmy Carter. We started as early as 1970s with self-imposed restrictions,” he said.
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with China’s President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Gingrich said that his visit to Taiwan was a difficult time. Beijing strongly opposes it. He urged Pelosi not to be weak but to demonstrate strength. Pelosi laughed at the suggestion that China might interfere with her trip by intercepting her plane. Chinese officials have threatened to shoot it down.
“What’s the first thing I would suggest? If the Department of Defense doesn’t believe they are capable of protecting an American Speaker of the House during a public visit to Taiwan, then why should we trust them?” Gingrich stated.
“If you are a Chinese Communist and have seen the complete chaos in Afghanistan or Ukraine, then you will think that this administration would be a perfect target for bullying. And so I come in there and said we have enormous disagreements on 98 or 99 for some of the things. On this issue, I believe she was right to trust her gut instincts. He said, “I hope she stays to her guns.”
This is the likely last time Pelosi has to travel to Taiwan as House Speaker. Republicans are widely expected to take back the House this November, and there is rampant speculation that Pelosi, who is 82, will retire at the end of her current term. This trip will cement her reputation as someone who wasn’t afraid to offend China.
According to Pelosi, her office will take her on a trip to Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea. Five Democrats will be accompanying her, even though she invited Michael McCaul (R.TX), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking member. McCaul declined to travel.
“Today’s Congressional delegation travels in the Indo-Pacific in order to reaffirm America’s strong, unshakeable commitment towards our allies in the region,” Pelosi stated in her statement.
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