Written by Jamie Epstein, Countable News
What's the story?
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan today and is expected to meet members of Taiwan’s legislature and President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, according to a close source. The trip is a part of Pelosi’s tour of Asia, where she’s also traveling to Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea.
- The highly anticipated visit to Taiwan is the first by a U.S. official in 25 years. The trip has created tension with China and prompted warnings that it could lead to more aggressive military action from the country's proclaimed ownership over Taiwan. China responded sharply to the visit, repeatedly telling Pelosi to call the trip off.
- In a statement released after her arrival, Ms. Pelosi said America has an “unwavering commitment” to supporting Taiwan’s democracy:
“America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”
- China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the trip shortly after Pelosi’s arrival, stating:
“[The trip] seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously undermines the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations and sends a seriously wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
- The Chinese military said it would conduct drills with live ammunition off its coast just 80 miles from Taiwan in anticipation of Pelosi’s trip. On Monday, the U.S. stated it was concerned that China would use the visit to justify military action.
Taiwan vs. China
- The Chinese government has claimed Taiwan as a province of China ever since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, after which the government established the Republic of China (ROC) on the island. On the mainland, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established the People’s Republic of China. Today, fewer than 15 world governments recognize the ROC — Taiwan — as a country. The CCP has never ruled over Taiwan and the island has had de facto independence for decades, growing into a democracy with its own government, military, free elections, and free media.
- Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants unification. Aggression toward Taiwan has increased under Xi’s rule, and analysts believe the threat of an invasion is high. Beijing has increased military action in the region and made claims over the Taiwan Strait separating Taiwan and China, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
- A statement issued by the Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that any attempt by Taiwan to seek independence would be “shattered by the powerful force of the Chinese people.”
- The U.S. has shown solidarity with Taiwan, and recently, President Biden said he would act to defend Taiwan in the event of a conflict. However, White House officials walked back those statements, pointing to a longstanding policy of “strategic ambiguity” in the conflict between China and Taiwan.
How do you feel about Pelosi's trip to Taiwan?
(Photo credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
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