Pelosi pisses off China, but Taiwan, not the US, may pay a higher price

In quick succession, a slew of government and political bodies issued statements condemning the visit and warning of its “serious impact” on US-China relations, while the Chinese military said it would begin “air and sea exercises” immediately and released a plan of action. . exercises around the island in the coming days.

Pelosi The visit – the first in 25 years by a senior US MP and part of a larger tour of Asia – was hailed by Beijing as a “major political provocation” and a challenge to China’s sovereignty. The ruling Chinese Communist Party considers Taiwan’s self-governing democracy to be its own, despite never having controlled it.

“We want Taiwan to always have freedom and security, and we will not back down from that,” Pelosi said, praising the Taiwanese people’s courage to stand up for democracy.

Pelosi’s ignorance of China’s warnings not to visit the island may have exacerbated troubled US-China relations, but analysts say the party likely to bear the brunt of Beijing’s pressure is not the United States, but Taiwan.

Live fire exercises

Beijing wasted no time in making its displeasure clear when a US Air Force jet carrying a Pelosi jet The delegation landed in Taiwan on Tuesday evening, but its reaction so far has been more subdued than some of the possibilities voiced by nationalist voices in China in recent days.

The Chinese military will conduct exercises around Taiwan and launch a series of “targeted military operations to counter the situation,” according to statements released on Tuesday by the Eastern Theater Command and the Ministry of Defense.

Does Taiwan have its own airspace?  China holds military exercises near island after Pelosi visit

An official map showing the location of some of these planned exercises, which were originally scheduled to take place Thursday through Sunday, suggests they are closer to the island than previous exercises and even encroach on Taiwan’s territorial waters. Analysts say this indicates an escalation of previous threats that Beijing used against Taiwan.

The map shows that the exercise will cover the island more fully than previous exercises, including military exercise areas and missile splashdown areas during the major Taiwan Strait crisis in the mid-1990s.

According to Karl Schuster, a former US Navy captain and former director of operations for the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, China “has moved much further than ever before” with the exercise.

“The geopolitical signal being sent is that China can close Taiwan’s air and sea access whenever it wants,” he said.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, in a press briefing on Wednesday, called the plan tantamount to a “sea and air blockade” that “threatens international waterways, challenges the international order, undermines the status quo on both sides of the strait, and endangers regional security.”

But how significant the drills end up being will depend on what happens in the coming days, according to political scientist Chong Ja Yang of the National University of Singapore, who said much is at stake for China’s image at home and abroad.

“Beijing (does not) want to escalate the situation in a way that it cannot control. At the same time, it cannot send a signal that looks too weak,” Chong said, noting that the latter would have domestic implications for Chinese leader Xi Jinping and possibly influence Beijing’s ability to “force other states in the region to follow its line.” .

“What this golden mean is like (for Beijing) nobody really knows,” he said.

‘national humiliation’

But even as China begins its response, Pelosi’s landing in Taipei and her high-profile meeting schedule on Wednesday marked a significant setback for Beijing, which has been trying to contain her trip for days with threats of retaliation and redline warnings. .”

And disappointment over the failure of these threats was palpable in some circles in China.

However, Hu Xijin, a political pundit and former editor-in-chief of the state-run nationalist tabloid Global Times, who warned of Chinese military retaliation against the US ahead of Pelosi’s trip, tried to assuage any discontent.

“Pelosi has landed in Taiwan, which of course shows that our deterrent force is not enough to stop her early advance,” Hu wrote in a post on his verified Weibo account on Wednesday.

“But if you are very upset about this, thinking that we have “lost” and faced a new “national humiliation”, then this is a bit of an exaggeration. Some people may think so, but we shouldn’t have that kind of collective vulnerability, he said.

Pelosi’s visit comes at a particularly challenging time for China as Xi, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, prepares to break convention and run for a third term at the 20th Communist Party Congress this fall. Analysts say it raises the stakes if China fails to talk the speaker out of a visit.

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“The Chinese tried to use saber-rattling and rhetorical warfare to prevent Pelosi’s trip, and they went overboard with their threats,” said Yun Song, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center in Washington, pointing to the rhetoric in China. the public sphere in connection with possible actions, such as the absence of flying zones or even the interception of Pelosi’s plane.

“Now Pelosi has decided to make the trip and that leaves the Chinese in limbo because they really can’t deliver,” she said.

It reveals “quite a few problems” in China’s foreign policy, “that they think that saber-rattling is enough to get what they want, but the price of that is their confidence in themselves in the future,” she said.

And while the situation is unlikely to affect Xi’s move to a third term, the visit, especially after his phone call with US President Joe Biden last week, during which the Chinese leader warned the US against “playing with fire” on the Taiwan issue, was “a great embarrassment.” domestically, Sun said.

Fallout for Taiwan

But while Beijing’s anger has been directed at the US speaker, whom Chinese officials have accused of “deliberately and maliciously” provoking a “crisis,” analysts say Taiwan should bear the brunt of his rage.

Planned military exercises designed to “squeeze Taiwan” are likely to be followed by further action in the Taiwan Strait, Sun said.

China hits Taiwan with trade restrictions after Pelosi visit

“Pelosi’s visit will effectively lead to a new escalation of Chinese military coercion against Taiwan for the foreseeable future. This punishment is key to China’s response at the moment because it cannot punish the United States,” she said.

Taiwan also intends to carry economic penalty for his actions as China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Wednesday announced it was suspending some citrus and seafood imports from the island. Chinese customs, in a separate statement, tied the suspension to hygiene concerns, but this is not the first time China has banned Taiwanese goods amid escalating tensions.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce also announced on Wednesday that it will immediately suspend exports of natural sand to Taiwan, which is a key component in the production of semiconductor chips.

In the face of China’s plans to conduct military exercises, the Taiwan Maritime and Ports Bureau on Wednesday issued three notices asking ships to use alternative routes for seven ports around the island.

Taiwan has also started talks with neighboring Japan and the Philippines to find alternative air routes to avoid Chinese assets.

Pelosi left the island on Wednesday, leaving a recalcitrant Taiwan under even more pressure as China unleashes its fury.

Asked during a regular briefing in Beijing if the export suspension was intended to punish Taiwan for Pelosi’s visit, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying declined to comment on specific trade moves but said “one thing is certain.”

“The separatist forces of the United States and Taiwan must take responsibility and pay for the mistakes made,” she said.

The Beijing bureau of CNN provided the report.