Nancy Pelosi is a longtime critic of China politics on a range of issues whereas Beijing is very sensitive to Taiwan and has strongly opposed its visit to the island.
Mumbai: After Nancy Pelosi, the US Speaker of the House visited Taiwan on Tuesday, the tension between China and Taiwan erupted once again with China prepping up its military against Taiwan for hosting Pelosi. As Pelosi ignored the threats and warnings by the Chinese President Xi Jinping that was delivered to the US president last week by saying, “not play with fire” (indicating China).
At an event after hosting Pelosi, Taiwan president Tsai said, “Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down.”
The trip by Pelosi to Taiwan has ignited a diplomatic firestorm as China has already mentioned, ‘Those who offended China will be punished’ . China has banned imports of some citrus fruits and fish from Taiwan. In a separate notice, the Commerce Ministry added it would also “suspend the export of natural sand to Taiwan” from Wednesday, without providing details. Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 viewing the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not part of “one China”.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities also announced scheduled live-fire military exercises around Taiwan, in a move that the Taipei Defense Ministry said threatened the island’s key ports and urban areas.
Nancy Pelosi is second in line for the position of US President after Vice President as Speaker of the House of Representatives (the lower house of US Congress). During her career as a politician, she has often criticized China, especially for human rights violations.
Is Taiwan an Independent nation?
Taiwan is an island about 160 km off the coast of southeastern China. Previously it was administered by the imperial Qing dynasty, but its control was passed to the Japanese in 1895. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the island passed back into Chinese hands. After the Communists led by Mao Zedong won the civil war in mainland China, Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the nationalist Kuomintang party, fled to Taiwan in 1949. Chiang Kai-shek established the government of the Republic of China on the island and remained president until 1975.
In 1980, the relationship between the Republic of China and Taiwan started improving. In 1991, it proclaimed that the war with the People’s Republic of China was over. China proposed the “one country, two systems” option, which it said would allow Taiwan significant autonomy if it agreed to come under Beijing’s control but Taiwan rejected it.
However, China has always recognized Taiwan as its Province and not a separate independent political entity. Whereas Taiwan says that it was formed after the revolution of 1911, hence it is not a part of China and is independent.
Even as political tensions persisted, China and Taiwan had economic ties. Many Taiwanese migrants work in China and China has investments in Taiwan.
China’s issue with Pelosi visiting Taiwan:
For China, the presence of a senior American figure in Taiwan would indicate some kind of US support for Taiwan’s independence. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang has said China would take “resolute and strong measures” if the visit takes place.
Pelosi visiting Taiwan would “severely undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gravely impact the foundation of China-US relations and send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces”, he has said.
US on China Taiwan Divide:
US longstanding policy is one of “strategic ambiguity” in that it would intervene militarily if China invaded Taiwan. Officially, it adheres to the “One China” policy, which recognizes only one Chinese government – in Beijing – and is more closely associated with Beijing than with Taipei.
The US has also vowed to provide Taiwan with defence weapons, stressing that any attack would cause “serious concern” for China.
The Taiwan issue has also strained US-China relations. Beijing condemned any perceived support from the US to Taipei and responded by increasing the penetration of military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence zone.
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