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Beijing warned Tsai Ing-wen’s US transit could lead to serious confrontation

The US visit of the Taiwan’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen came at a time of exacerbated relationship before the US and China. Chinese officials make condemnation and warned that Tsai’s US transit could lead to a “serious” confrontation in the US- China relationship and have a “severe impact” on their ties.

The US is bound by law to sell arms to Taiwan for its self-defense, though it ended its formal diplomatic relationship with Taipei in 1979 when it recognized the government in Beijing. Tsai’s visit or transit is not characterized as an official visit in order to keep the US government within the longstanding “One China” policy because of the unofficial relationship the US has with Taiwan.

US officials sought to downplay Tsai’s stopover and urged Chinese government not to use them as an excuse or pretext to carry out any aggressive activity around the Taiwan Strait.

Frictions between China and the US have heightened in recent years. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on the island while Chinese government vowed to take Taiwan by force if necessary.

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China could have an unprecedented response to Pelosi’s potential Taiwan visit

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. 


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