Taiwan’s Defense Ministry raised its alert level in advance, anticipating an escalation, and China put military aircraft into the air. Before the eyes of almost the whole world, the plane with the speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on board landed on the island of Taiwan on the evening of August 2, despite open and covert threats from China. The war has not started. And Russia and China received a clear signal, which concerns, among other things, Ukraine.
On the evening of August 2, the plane of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan. This is the first such visit to the island since 1997. Pelosi at the airport called her arrival a “historic event.” On the eve of Pelosi’s arrival, Taiwanese television announced a second-level alert on the island. Taiwanese aviation took the plane with Pelosi under escort. The United States and China also took off military aircraft and directed it towards Taiwan. American fighter jets also accompanied the Pelosi plane. The landing of the plane, despite the threats from China, went smoothly.
Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei was broadcast on major TV channels. This is her last stop on her multi-day tour of Asia. The visit was approved by Pelosi’s colleagues. In a statement released immediately after her landing, a group of 26 GOP senators, including minority leader Mitch McConnell, said they supported the trip.
Huang Chao-yuan, a 53-year-old business owner, arrived at the airport early. “I am very excited about this visit,” he told The New York Times. “This is an example that shows that the US does not need to negotiate with the CCP (Communist Party of China. – Approx. ed.). They can come here if they want. .. This demonstrates the independence of Taiwan.”
“I’m very happy that Pelosi came to show her support,” another greeter, Liu Yue, 72, was quoted by The Washington Post as holding a sign that read: “Speaker Pelosi, welcome to the Republic of Taiwan.” Liu has advocated formal Taiwanese independence from China for decades: “We have nothing to do with China. We don’t want to ally with them.”
China protested the visit and urged the US “not to go further along the dangerous path” in violation of the principle of a one China: it “seriously undermines peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and sends a completely wrong signal to the separatist forces about the independence of Taiwan.” The statement said that “such US actions are like playing with fire,” and “those who play with fire die by fire.”
China openly threatened last week that the US was “playing with fire if it allowed the speaker’s visit to take place.” This was preceded by telephone conversations between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
On June 10, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, during a meeting with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, warned that Beijing “won’t hesitate to go to war” if Taiwan declares independence.
The US claims to have sent its speaker to show solidarity with Taiwan. “We must keep in mind that Beijing does not want a military conflict with the United States to break out. Therefore … will refrain from responding that could lead to … a military escalation,” Amanda Xiao, a senior China analyst, was quoted by The Washington Post. in the International Crisis Group.
“The United States also supports the principle of one China,” Yury Poita, head of the Asia-Pacific region section of the New Geopolitics Research Network, explains to LIGA.net. But the US specifies that unification is possible only by peaceful means and not unilaterally. “And China has increasingly begun to say that it is ready to establish control over Taiwan, including by military means,” says Poita. “Statements are becoming more aggressive. The PRC is taking a number of measures to establish control over Taiwan.”
Biden said in May that Washington would use the army if China tried to take Taiwan by force. Therefore, today, during the landing of the plane with Pelosi, the situation was tense to the limit.
China has intensively developed its armed forces in recent years, especially those components that are intended for military operations specifically in the Taiwan direction, Poita says: this is the Air Force, Navy, including the landing force. But I decided not to cross the “red lines”.
“China, despite the threatening rhetoric, did not go on a military escalation, did not use weapons, but only demonstrated its readiness to use them,” Poita said. Although Pelosi’s visit is clearly interpreted by the PRC as a violation of the “one China” principle.
“In the near future, we will see a demonstration of China’s military presence. It will conduct military exercises, including the use of ballistic missiles. But the parties are working to ensure that a real military conflict does not occur,” says Poita.
China has already announced new live fire exercises in the East China Sea.
“The United States has shown its teeth – and twice in recent days,” said the former Interior Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin. – For the first time – when the leader of Al-Qaeda * Al-Zawahiri was destroyed in Afghanistan. In the second, by organizing Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.”
And this is important for Ukraine. The diplomat considers unjustified the fears of Ukrainians that “raising the stakes by the Americans will distract them” from the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
“Everything is exactly the opposite. The Kremlin regime does not understand any civilized diplomacy, only force. The teeth that the United States showed were immediately seen in the Kremlin. The signal is very simple: we are not afraid of anyone in this world and we will get everyone who threatens us. It’s just and as accessible as possible. For everyone, and first of all for the Kremlin,” Klimkin believes.
For Ukraine, this means a lot, Poyta also believes. The US has confirmed that its foreign policy is based on alliances. Taiwan is one such alliance in the Asia-Pacific region. “US support for Taiwan is a demonstration of US readiness for defense and military support of the allies. Including in a military confrontation with China. Including, if the Chinese leadership decides to seize the island by force,” he said.
If the United States yielded in this crisis, this would show that the United States is not ready for real support from partners, and would provoke an even more aggressive reaction from China, whose task is to oust the United States from the Asia-Pacific region: “And this would including a signal from Russia that the United States is losing political and diplomatic weight.”
* – terrorist organization banned in Russia