Last week, US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi would like to have a Taiwan visit to show support for Taiwan. China immediately gives a warning against a potential high-stakes trip and vowed to take “resolute and forceful measures” of the trip goes ahead.
However, Chinese government has not specified in public what “forceful measures” it is planning to take. Some Chinese experts say Beijing’s reaction could involve a military component and the situation between China and the US will be very tense.
Pelosi’s potential trip wouldn’t be the first time a sitting US House speaker has visited Taiwan. In 1997, Newt Gingrich met Taiwan first democratically elected President Lee Teng-hui. At that time, China’s response was limited to rhetoric. Twenty-five years on, it is a completely different regime in Beijing with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. China is stronger, more powerful, and confident, and its leader XI, Jinping has made it clear that Beijing will no longer tolerate any perceived slights or challenge to its interests. China is in a position to be more assertive, to impose costs and consequences to countries that don’t take China’s interest into consideration in their policy or actions.
Last Wednesday, US president Joe Biden told reporters the US military thinks a Taiwan visit by Pelosi is “not a good idea right now.”
On this Monday, Gingrich wrote on the social media about his comment on the potential visit and raise out the concern about political timidity.
The potential Taiwan visit by Pelosi would come at a sensitive time for China. The PLA is celebrating its founding anniversary on August 1, while Xi, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, is preparing to seek a third term at the ruling Communist Party this fall.
But with Pelosi’s potential visit is now playing out in public, any decision to delay or cancel, risks being seen as a concession.