Pelosi begins Asia trip as questions linger over possible visit to Taiwan

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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 whether she would visit Taiwan and become the highest-ranking US official in 25 years.

Pelosi has threatened repercussions if Pelosi flies to Taiwan, and the Biden administration is opposing the trip over concerns it will spark some sort of military confrontation with China or further destabilize the relationship.

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The last time a US official of her status visited Taiwan was in 1997, and the official was then House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA). Gingrich has urged Pelosi to go despite opposition from the Biden administration, calling it “shyness, covered by uncertainty and an eagerness to appease people who are not Americans.”

“You have an awake Department of Defense that is just as timid as the Department of State, which is really dangerous,” Gingrich said at the America First Policy Institute summit in Washington, DC last week.

A number of other Republicans are also urging Pelosi to go and not return to Beijing, including Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), who visited Taiwan this month.

“China is just a belligerent country with some great people, but a terrible government. And so we have to stand up for our great ally – not just Taiwan, but … if we do this, we support Japan. We support South Korea and other allies in Asia a little bit,” he told Breitbart News.

sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a double amputee, visited Taiwan for the second time in May.

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 with 23 million citizens and an economy that ranks 20th in the world. It considers itself a separate country, but China has vowed to “reunite” Taiwan under its control, including by force.

Although the US 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.

However, the US has tried to maintain “strategic ambiguity” on the issue of military intervention — not making it entirely clear whether it would defend Taiwan militarily if China invades, in a balancing act intended to appease China but also to provide a to deter invasion.

President Joe Biden has said multiple times that the US would come to Taiwan militarily if China invades, but White House officials immediately reversed his remarks — leaving it unclear what the Biden administration would actually do.

Under current Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has dramatically ramped up its military and diplomatic harassment against Taiwan – record military flights around the island and peeling off Taiwan’s official diplomatic allies with promises of economic development. Some experts believe China could attempt to invade Taiwan as early as 2027, which could lead to a US military confrontation with Chinese forces.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has doubled its defense capacity and strengthened its informal and formal diplomatic relations with other democratic countries, including the US, other countries in the region such as Japan, and Eastern Europe. Taiwan has donated humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine as they face an ongoing invasion from Russia.

Taiwan has also pointed to its role in warning the world about COVID-19 after the virus emerged from Wuhan in China and Chinese officials tried to prevent information about the infectious disease from coming out – saving the world precious time took to respond and it spread to the US and around the world.

Michael Pillsbury, author of The Centennial Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower and considered the country’s leading authority on China by former President Donald Trump, Breitbart told News in an email on Sunday:

We need a Congressional review of one China policy. It appears that China is expanding the definition that not only does Taiwan belong to China, but that China can dictate which US government officials and members of Congress are allowed to visit Taiwan.

As you recall, quite a few US officials have since been ‘sanctioned’ for violating Chinese sovereignty over their visits to Taiwan. This was not the original policy agreement with China.

Pillsbury added that the One China policy “has never actually been submitted to Congress as a document or treaty,” and that the US has interpreted it more rigorously than necessary.

“My impression is that members of Congress have only a very limited understanding of what was agreed first by Henry Kissinger and later by Jimmy Carter. We started with self-imposed restrictions as far back as the 1970s,” he said.

US President Joe Biden meets Chinese President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, Nov. 15, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/TBEN via Getty Images)

Gingrich, who said his trip to Taiwan came at a difficult time and was vehemently opposed by Beijing, urged Pelosi to show strength, not weakness. He scoffed at suggestions that China might try to disrupt Pelosi’s journey, for example by intercepting her plane. Chinese officials have threatened to shoot it.

“Well, my first suggestion is this – if the Department of Defense isn’t confident they can protect a US Speaker of the House on a public visit, why would we think they could protect Taiwan?” said Gingrich.

“And if you are the Chinese Communists, and you… [watched] the total mess in Afghanistan, the total mess in Ukraine, you start to think this government is just begging to be bullied. And so I came in there and said that for some things we have huge disagreements about 98 or 99. So on this one I think she got her instincts right. I hope she sticks to her guns,” he said.

The trip is likely Pelosi’s last chance to visit Taiwan as House Speaker. Republicans are widely expected to take back the House in November, and there is widespread speculation that Pelosi, who is 82, will retire at the end of her current term. The trip would cement her legacy as a speaker who wasn’t afraid to offend China.

According to Pelosi’s office, she will visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan during her trip. Five Democrats travel with her, though she invited House Foreign Affairs Ranking Committee member Michael McCaul (R-TX), who declined to go.

“Today our congressional delegation travels to the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm America’s strong and unwavering commitment to our allies and friends in the region,” Pelosi said in her statement.

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