Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan: the Biden administration had reservations about this trip

Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan: the Biden administration had reservations about this trip

Sébastien Le Belzic (in Beijing), Alexis Guilleux (in New York) with AFP

“Those who offend China will be punished,” warns Beijing. Tensions between the United States and China are on the rise. Despite warnings from Beijing, Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi arrived on the Chinese-claimed island of Taiwan on Tuesday evening. She met the Taiwanese president there. A visit perceived as a major provocation by China.

Coming from an independence party, Tsai Ing-wen is Beijing’s pet peeve. Nancy Pelosi said she wants to “defend peace and democracy” in Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen said she “will not back down” from Chinese military threats.

Growing threats

Beijing announced a series of targeted military operations. “These military operations are a necessary step in response to the dangerous maneuvers of the American and Taiwanese authorities on the question of Taiwan,” said the general, in charge of the eastern troops of the Chinese army.

Operations that will take the form of large-scale military exercises in six strategic areas around Taiwan from Thursday. A kind of blockade since no boat or civilian plane will be able to circulate. Live ammunition and long-range exercises with missile fire. And we expect, as since last night, incessant overflights of Chinese military planes around the island, putting the Taiwanese army on permanent alert.

A visit far from unanimous

Behind the scenes, members of the Biden administration had expressed reservations about this trip. Joe Biden sided with the army’s opinion, explaining that this visit “was not a good idea”. But because of the separation of powers, the White House respects the choice of Nancy Pelosi, while recalling that this trip does not change the American position vis-à-vis Taiwan.

The profile of Nancy Pelosi questioned

“There is no reason for Beijing to turn this visit into a way out of the crisis or use it as a pretext to increase aggression and military activity in or around Taiwan. The United States is not looking and don’t want a crisis,” said John Kirby, Joe Biden’s spokesman for strategic issues.

On the side of the Republicans, about twenty elected officials affirm that Nancy Pelosi has every right to go to Taiwan, as members of the American Congress regularly do. Beijing’s anger may also come from Nancy Pelosi’s profile. In 1991, the democrat went to Tian’anmen Square in memory of the demonstrators repressed by the Chinese authorities.

Since then, she has constantly denounced Beijing’s actions in Tibet. In an editorial published Tuesday at washington postNancy Pelosi explains that with this trip to Taiwan, “we honor our commitment to democracy”.

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