US House of Representatives President Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan. People’s China has already expressed outrage and warned America that the visit will receive a “shocking” response.
The whole world follows Nancy Pelosi’s journey through East Asia. The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Parliament has announced that she will visit Taiwan. People’s China has expressed outrage through multiple channels, warning America that the visit will receive a “shocking” response because, as leader Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden last week, anyone who plays with fire can burn themselves.
Pelosi has an aggressive attitude towards Chinese communists and in a long career she has repeatedly condemned their methods of government, their surveillance of civilians and the persecution of critics. With her presence she wants to encourage democratic Taiwan, which is in danger of being invaded. The trip to the island was due to take place in the spring, plans were thwarted by covid. Now nothing stands in the way – except perhaps the Chinese reaction.
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China can benefit from this
The PRC has a wide range of capabilities. Chinese fighters were able to approach a Pelosi plane headed for Taiwan. This includes declaring a no-fly zone over Taiwanese territory, missile launches, troop movements and breaching Taiwan’s air and sea zones. However, all salvos should be fired from the president’s machine, because the Chinese goal is hardly to lead to war (we are talking about the second person in the US presidential succession).
The trip – at least officially – is embarrassing for Joe Biden, who says it may not be the best time. The president’s schedule cannot be changed because — let’s take it as a lesson in democracy — parliament is independent of the will of the White House. However, pragmatists in Washington have pointed out that Pelosi’s presence in Taipei does not support US interests. According to them, it is more about gestures, stirring up emotions and improving the well-being of the chairman of the House of Representatives. They probably underestimate the role of symbols in politics and social life, but it’s hard to disagree with the statement that China will use the eventual visit as a precedent to get closer to Taiwan and establish a new standard of behavior . For example, they may want to fly closer than before.
It is not convenient for the Biden administration, as it is also continuing its traditional strategy of approaching China and avoiding armed confrontation with it. America maintains official relations with the communists, in practice it supports Taiwan, sells weapons and guarantees its safety. At the same time, he ensures that the distance between the two entities does not change. Taiwan, sitting under the American umbrella, should not declare independence. At the same time, the United States does not want the communists to invade the island.
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Conquest of Taiwan? China looks to Ukraine
This has roughly been the case for the past few decades, but what is new is the change in the potential of the PRC, the strengthening of the military, a more aggressive policy in the region and the constant mention that it is time to conquer Taiwan – if necessary by force. The communists see it as a rebel province, even though they didn’t have the ability to control it. If there were an attack, America would have to come to the rescue, so if a war breaks out between China and the US, it will probably be the fastest against Taiwan.
Another circumstance is the situation in the PRC. Residents have had enough of the hard fight against covid, the economy is slowing and the party is preparing for a congress. In about three months, Xi should receive approval for a third term and a lifetime rule, which is a huge departure from the practice of decades past, when the leader was content with two terms. However, such an operation requires calm and a good atmosphere in the country and in the party, so a serious argument will not help.
This is what intuition and common sense tell you. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that the PRC will plunge into Taiwan sooner or later. The Russian invasion of Ukraine showed that a bloody war with irrational goals is possible. The question is what China is learning from the reaction of the free world. Support for the Ukrainians also sends a signal to Beijing to expect that the West will try to defend the Taiwanese if an invasion does occur.
On the other hand, the island has been preparing for an attack for decades, there are long-known places where it could land, there are shelters, supplies for the civilian population, evacuation plans and modern weapons, eg in the United States. The conquest of Taiwan by the People’s Liberation Army is not impossible, but will be accompanied by great losses and international exclusion.
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The world needs Taiwan
While its magnitude is hard to imagine today, the appetite for sanctions will be lower given China’s degree of economic ties to the rest of Asia, Europe and the Americas. After all, Taiwan should be saved first and foremost by the Americans, their fleet and air force. It will be difficult to help as the island is right next to the Chinese coast. Meanwhile, Ukraine has consumed a lot of armaments and there may also be a shortage of ships, ships and aircraft currently serving the Atlantic routes.
Even the logistical capabilities of the US may prove too modest to supply two major armed conflicts simultaneously. Moreover, we just need Taiwan as a semiconductor and digital parts factory – the province holds two-thirds of the world market, the global electronics industry, communications, military and the future of an ever-increasing artificial intelligence hang on to it. These are also the reasons why the possible presence of Pelosi on the island evokes such great emotions.
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