Tsai’s US visit: New Taiwan crisis?
After the KMT sent a delegation to Beijing, former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT made a 12-day visit to China for the Qingming Ancestor Festival and a number of business delegations followed to China, Tsai Yingwen is now visiting the USA. The following two assessments can be read in the latest Chinanewsletter Chinapolitan Newsletter of March 28, 2023 from the China Institute of German Economics (CIDW):
“On Ma Ying-jeou’s visit to China – the Chinese state media have been reporting extensively for a few days on the trip to China (March 27 to April 7) of former President of Taiwan and direct predecessor Tsai Ing-wen Ma Ying-jeou. Sina Weibo, for example, pointed out the great historical importance of the trip, because for the first time in more than 70 years a (former) Taiwanese head of state is visiting mainland China. In Taiwan’s reporting, on the other hand, this report is largely swept under the carpet, so that it is quickly forgotten. The KMT in particular fears that the trip could have a negative impact on its performance in the presidential elections. One of Ma’s historic achievements is bringing Taiwan and mainland China closer together during his presidency. The Mas visit, together with Xi’s visit to Russia, the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Macron’s planned visit to China and that of Brazilian President Lula, demonstrate how much the People’s Republic of China is trying to achieve peace in the world. This sends a strong signal against the false Western narrative of „democracy versus dictatorship“.
Our assessment: Mas’s visit is viewed very critically in Taiwan and is well discussed in the media. Ma’s own party, the KMT, is already well behind the Democratic Progressive Party in the latest polls. This is why there are fears that the visit will further complicate next year’s election campaign, which will certainly be heavily influenced by Chinese-Taiwanese relations. In China, on the other hand, the importance of visiting Mas is somewhat exaggerated. Contrary to what the article suggests, it is not an official state visit. Ma will (probably) also not meet with high-ranking politicians in the PRC. However, the symbolism behind this visit cannot be underestimated at this point. Sina Weibo (…)
Possible Consequences of Resuming Taiwan-U.S. Diplomatic Relations – The China Times a few days ago addressed the question of whether resuming U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic ties would actually trigger a war. The reason for the coverage was an interview with Taiwanese Speaker of Parliament You Si-kun, in which he reiterated his statement made in 2018 that he believed it was possible for the United States and Taiwan to establish official diplomatic relations within the next ten years . You said he didn’t think it would trigger a war because countries around the world are constantly making or breaking off diplomatic relations and it has never triggered a war. You hopes that in a few years Taiwan will be able to become a member of the United Nations again and that the constitution will be changed in such a way that democracy, freedom and the rule of law will be permanently secured. Our assessment: The debate is very interesting, but at the moment it does not appear that this attitude, which would implicitly go hand in hand with Taiwan’s formal independence, will prevail in the near future. According to the latest polls by Chengchi University, while a clear majority of Taiwanese oppose reunification with China, less than 5% of respondents are in favor of formal Taiwan independence. There are probably mainly pragmatic reasons for this, because most Taiwanese: inside should be well aware of the associated risk. There are currently hardly any efforts on the part of the USA to establish official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”.
.It is interesting to note the statements made by Taiwanese Parliament President You, according to which diplomatic relations between the USA and Taiwan would not lead to war. Maybe he’s underestimating something. Likewise, the KMT is said to be behind in the polls for the presidential elections despite the DDP’s defeat in the local elections, which Tsai wanted to see as a referendum on its confrontational China policy. If that’s true?
China expert at the LMU, Professor van Ess, said:
“Well, it could be that KMT is struggling. The young Taiwanese in particular are terrified of China – and it is doubtful whether business representatives will be able to turn this feeling around. It’s like that all over the world, that the entrepreneurial world influences maybe 10% of the population, but not the rest. Only when the economy stops working do people suddenly become skeptical.”
The day before yesterday there was an ARTE theme night about China.
2 films about the Laogai and the forced labor and re-education system as well as the black prisons for migrant workers because of the Hukou system and petitioners who make representations in Beijing – and then the Uyghurs and Tibetans including Falun Gong – from Mao to Xi, whereby today you are back to old times. Apparently Harry Wu was such a central investigative person who reported on the Laogai and Liaojiao system, but he has since passed away. Oddly enough, one hears very little from Amnesty International in this context.
Then 2 films about Taiwan. First, that 89% of 18-29 year old Taiwanese feel Taiwanese and not Chinese. Then the sunflower movement, which occupied parliament for 3 weeks in order to bring down the KMT’s free trade agreement with China. Many are now in the DDP or vote for it, including Audrey Tang, Tsai’s Minister for Digitization, who is the world’s first transgender minister and set international standards with her transparent democratic digitization strategy against Corona without lockdowns. Then there’s EYCTV, a youth TV station that pokes fun at China and Winnie Xi, and Emily Wu, which attracts international VIPs from fashion, film industries and other celebrities to Taiwan. Taiwan also seems to be the most tolerant of the LGBTQ scene in Asia, including gay parades. It is perhaps no coincidence that Althans, a gay neo-Nazi from Munich at the time, went to Taiwan after his change of mind. Then an interview with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, who said that Xi is running out of time as the younger generation wants to get further and further away from China.
Good argument. Also differentiate more precisely what and who the Taiwanese are, also with regard to the generations, sunflower movement and Freddy Lim. But as I said: The KMT is not only closely connected to many economic elites, but also in the military and secret service apparatus. That’s why the DDP reacts so irritated to the Nikkei Asia report, according to which 90% of the Taiwanese ex-military men have traveled to China and also exchanged information for money and also warns of a new 228 massacre by the KMT. As Mao once said: Power comes from the barrel of the guns. It is also possible that the economic elites, military and secret services associated with the KMT do not adhere to such democratic rules and procedures. Robert Tsao, the Taiwanese entrepreneur and founder of UCN also said that there are forces in Taiwan that want to defend independence and the status quo, but also those that would hand Taiwan over to China without a fight or that wanted to paralyze Taiwan from the inside and open the city gates, so to speak. to avoid the ravages of war. He is therefore investing US$ 100 million in the Kuma Foundation, which aims to teach the Taiwanese basic military skills and prepare them for urban house-to-house warfare.
Another China expert said: “ Spoke to a Taiwanese professor yesterday who is very concerned that there could be war this year or next. He also said nine out of ten generals in Taiwan’s military don’t want to fight, partly because they think they’ll lose anyway and because they’re not particularly loyal to the president. Apparently, however, the US is increasing personnel and weapons on Taiwan. So things keep going.”
However. After the new Republican chairman of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, canceled his visit to Taiwan for security reasons after threats from Beijing, Taiwan’s President Tsai is now visiting the USA – officially only as a transit, which would be only routine. The DDP-affiliated Taipei Times plays it down as routine, returning from Central America, where Honduras has just established diplomatic relations with China, and transit, and makes no mention of the Chinese threats. Apparently, Tsai is giving her speech at the Ronald Reagan Library and not at Cornell. Don’t she wants to remember Lee Denghui’s speech at Cornell University and the Taiwan crisis at the time?
„President departs for Central America
‘INDISPENSABLE ROLE’: Despite stopovers in the US, Tsai said the aim of her trip is to ‘demonstrate determination to deepen exchanges’ with the allies of the nation
- Staff writer, with CNA
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday afternoon left Taiwan on a 10-day trip to Central America that includes stopovers in New York and Los Angeles.
“Through this visit, I will express my gratitude to diplomatic partners for their support of Taiwan,” Tsai said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport shortly before boarding the plane.
The trip to Guatemala and Belize — her first overseas journey since the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping around the world in early 2020 — aims to “demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to deepen exchanges” with its Central American allies, she said.
Tsai said that she and her delegation would also explore the possibility of expanding cooperation with Taiwan’s allies and partners in the areas of agriculture, public health, women’s empowerment, the digital economy and supply chain security.
As Taiwan plays “an indispensable role” in the restructuring of global supply chains, it must work with other countries and contribute to the economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, she added.
The presidential delegation would stop over in New York en route to Guatemala and Los Angeles after visiting Belize, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Tsai is to arrive in New York at 3am today and spend nearly two days in the city, where she is expected to address an event hosted by the Hudson Institute and receive a “global leadership award” from the think tank.
On her return trip, Tsai is to touch down on Wednesday next week in Los Angeles, where she is expected to meet with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and deliver a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
The president would be in Guatemala from Saturday to Monday and Belize from Monday to Wednesday, the ministry said.
She is to meet with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and Belizean Prime Minister John Briceno, as well as Taiwan’s technical missions and expatriates in both countries.
Tsai is to land in Taiwan on Friday next week, although the ministry has not yet announced her arrival time.
Despite a lack of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the US, Washington has over the years allowed Taiwan’s presidents to make stopovers on US soil during their trips to Latin American and Caribbean nations.
US Department of State spokesperson Vedant Patel said earlier this week that Tsai’s transits in the US are “consistent with longstanding US practice, the unofficial nature of our relations with Taiwan and US policy, which remains unchanged.”
However, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) yesterday told a news briefing in Beijing that Tsai’s stopovers in the US constitute an act of “provocation.”
Beijing would “resolutely fight back” with certain measures should Tsai and McCarthy meet, Zhu said.
The delegation traveling with Tsai consists of Presidential Office Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺), among other officials.
The delegation also includes four legislators: Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) and Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) of the Democratic Progressive Party, Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) of the Taiwan People’s Party and Claire Wang (王婉諭) of the New Power Party.
However, the CCP sees things differently and threatens retaliation if Tsai hits McCarthy or says something wrong in her speech. The Pelosi visit is seen as a game changer of the status quo, which is why the Tsai trip is not just seen as a transit.
“China to resolutely fight back Tsai’s official contact with US officials
By Chen Qingqing and Liu Xuanzun
Published: Mar 29, 2023 09:46 PM Updated: Mar 29, 2023 11:33 PM
Tsai Ing-wen Photo:AFP
China on Wednesday warned of resolute measures to fight back if Taiwan regional leader has contact with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during her transit in the US, as China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Chinese island, opposes the visit of the regional leader to the US in any name or under whatever pretext and opposes the US‘ violation of the one-China principle.
While some Western media outlets said that the meeting between the regional leader Tsai Ing-wen and McCarthy has drawn anger from the Chinese mainland and touches a flashpoint in the US-China ties, Chinese experts said since the then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan in August 2022 changed the status quo of the Taiwan Straits, the mainland has remained vigilant about any interaction between the US and the island and is fully prepared to take any instant reaction any time. Tsai’s trip will also likely draw firm responses from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), experts said.
Tsai left on Wednesday for a trip to Central America and she is scheduled to transit through New York first and Los Angeles on the way back, Reuters reported. While not officially confirmed, she is expected to meet McCarthy while in California, the media report said.
„If Taiwan’s regional leader Tsai Ing-wen meets with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, it would be a provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as damages peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. And we will take resolute measures to counter this,“ a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council remarked on Wednesday.
Tsai’s transit through the US is in essence a provocative act of „seeking independence by relying on the US“ and seeking opportunities to sell out the idea of Taiwan secession to the international community as well as solicit support from anti-China forces in the US, said Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
Some US media outlets noted that the trip comes at a sensitive time as US-China relations have been at a low point after the US blatantly shot down a Chinese unmanned airship for civilian use last month and has continued curbing China’s high tech development. Delayed high-level talks between Washington and Beijing also weigh on the already strained bilateral ties.
„The attitude of the US and its level of reception are very sensitive. The DPP authorities understand that such a move is playing with fire but they have to be obedient to Washington in playing the ‚Taiwan card,’“ Zhu Songling, a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of Beijing Union University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Given the overall political will and the anti-China hostilities inside the US government, Washington will continue playing the „Taiwan card,“ which won’t be helpful for the China-US relations, Zhu said.
Despite repeated warnings from the Chinese side, the US has been making excuses for Tsai’s transit. For example, senior US officials were quoted as saying in media reports ahead of her departure that such transits are routine and the Chinese side should not „overreact.“
Some US media also listed the previous six transits of Tsai through the US between 2016 and 2019, while a senior US official said that the past transits had engaged in a range of activities including meetings with members of Congress.
„A major difference is that since Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan last year, the US has unilaterally changed the status quo of the Taiwan Straits. Since then, the Chinese side has been maintaining high vigilance about any interaction between the island and the US,“ Lü Xiang, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
China will pay attention to any detail, small moves and every sentence if Tsai meets with US officials, and we believe that the US has felt such vigilance and China will react instantly anytime, Lü said.
China has repeatedly protested against the US side on Tsai’s so-called stopover in the US. Past mistakes do not justify any new mistake. Repeating a mistake does not make it legitimate, Mao Ning, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told at a press conference on Wednesday.
The trip is not so much a „transit,“ but an attempt to seek breakthroughs and propagate „Taiwan independence.“ The issue is not about China overreacting, but the US egregiously conniving at and supporting „Taiwan independence“ separatists, she said.
The ones who are creating problems and making provocations are not China, but the US and the „Taiwan independence“ separatists, Mao said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, earnestly deliver on its leaders‘ commitment of not supporting „Taiwan independence“ or „two Chinas“ or „one China, one Taiwan,“ stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop upgrading its substantive exchanges with the region, stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle, and stop undermining the political foundation for bilateral relations while stressing the need to put „guardrails“ on the relationship.
„China will closely monitor the developments and firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,“ Mao said.
„The US should not compare the past with the present as Pelosi’s visit stepped on the red line on the Taiwan question. Since then, the tolerance of the Chinese side has been largely reduced,“ Lü said.
Intensive activities of the PLA have already been observed shortly before Tsai’s trip, including those in the Taiwan Straits, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
From Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning, 16 PLA aircraft and four PLA vessels were detected operating around the island of Taiwan, with 11 of the detected aircraft including an H-6 bomber escorted by fighter jets entering the island’s self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone, the defense authority on the island said on Wednesday in a press release.
In the East China Sea, PLA naval activities were reported by Japan’s Ministry of Defense Joint Staff consecutively on Monday and Tuesday, with press releases from the Japanese side saying that a PLA warship flotilla entered the East China Sea from the West Pacific on Sunday, and a PLA electronic reconnaissance ship entered the Sea of Japan from the East China Sea on Monday.
An amphibious landing detachment affiliated with the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy recently organized a flotilla consisting of the Type 075 amphibious assault ship Hainan as well as Type 071 amphibious landing ships the Kunlunshan and the Qilianshan in a realistic combat-oriented exercise in the South China Sea, the PLA Daily reported on Tuesday. These amphibious warships are expected to play key roles in a potential reunification-by-force operation on the island of Taiwan as they provide multidimensional landing capabilities, analysts said.
A brigade of the PLA Navy Marine Corps recently organized multiple types of armored vehicles including Type 15 light tanks, Type 11 wheeled assault guns, Type 05 amphibious armored vehicles and Type 09 self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery in a live-fire shooting exercise in an unfamiliar location, the PLA Daily reported on Wednesday. The Marine Corps is considered a main force in amphibious landing missions.
Fu Qianshao, a Chinese mainland military expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the PLA is expected to make countermeasures should she meet with McCarthy.
When Pelosi provocatively visited the island of Taiwan in August last year, the PLA responded by a series of large-scale military exercises that completely locked down the island of Taiwan.
This has deterred the „Taiwan independence“ secessionists and the US, so this time Tsai has chosen to travel to the US instead of having McCarthy come to the island of Taiwan, fearing an escalation in PLA countermeasures, Fu said.
However, this does not change the fact that Tsai’s trip still crossed the red line, and the PLA will still very likely respond, Fu said, listing enhanced combat patrols and military exercises as possible options.
And it is prophesied that Tsai puts Taiwan in a dangerous and destructive position and that she will have a harder time after her visit than without a visit.
“Tsai will find herself in a more difficult situation after US transit: Global Times editorial
By Global Times Published: Mar 29, 2023 11:47 PM
Tsai Ing-wen Photo:VCG
Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen kicked off a trip on Wednesday, claiming she is heading to Guatemala and Belize in Central America. However, it is clear to everyone that the centerpiece of the trip would be „transiting through“ the US. This is a trick she had played six times previously, and with her term soon ending, she appears to want to make one more last big play before the end of her political career. However, the public protests that „opposed the sale of Taiwan to the US and the collusion between the US and Taiwan which will harm the island,“ have reminded Tsai that this visit will only leave her with a „historical position“ of being a disgraced descendant.
On the path of seeking independence with US support, Tsai and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities have behaved like desperate gamblers who have lost their senses. However, the problem is that the stakes they are gambling with are not just their own private assets or those of their party, but the livelihood and wellbeing of the people in Taiwan and even the fate of the island. An atmosphere of worries is permeating the island’s media, which is fearful of what kind of new instructions Tsai will bring back from her American boss. The island’s media described the trip as „strapping a bomb to Taiwan itself and pouring gasoline on itself,“ which shows that this is a risky and ominous trip.
According to Taiwan media reports, the DPP had hoped to achieve a „major breakthrough“ and even „seek a historical position“ through Tsai’s US transit. However, Washington „intentionally downplayed the visit,“ making it rather bland. For the US, it wants to turn the regional leader’s transit into a card against China, but is also concerned that it might become a hand grenade that cannot be thrown out if things go too far. The DPP authorities are in such a predicament. It is merely a pawn on the US chessboard, and Washington decides where to place it based on its own geopolitical needs.
Until Tsai’s departure, neither the DPP authorities nor the US side officially announced her specific itinerary, and all kinds of information were tentatively released via media. It can be seen that both Tsai and the DPP authorities, and even the US side, are wary and know that some things cannot be exposed publicly as they violate the rules. However, they cannot let go of their desire to do those bad things, so they appear to be sneaky and secretive. The White House claimed that Tsai’s „transit“ was of a private nature and that there were no arrangements for US officials to meet with her. We will wait and see if there will be a slap in the face on these claims.
The Chinese side has already made solemn representations to the US side on this issue several times. If Tsai has contact with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, it will be another serious violation of the one-China principle and damage to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as a provocation that undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. We firmly oppose to it and will take resolute countermeasures. The form and degree of the counterattack will depend on the specific circumstances, and the initiative is in our own hands. However, the final outcome will undoubtedly be that every provocation by Washington will be met with the Chinese side’s resolute countermeasures, and every act of „Taiwan independence“ by Tsai and the DPP authorities will result in tighter constraints on them.
There is one thing that can be told to Tsai in advance: When she returns after transiting through the US, she will definitely find a more difficult situation. What awaits her is not only the accurate countermeasures from the mainland but also the increasing vigilance and opposition from the residents within the island against her pursuit of independence with US support. She will also face a complete disdain toward her political manipulation while ignoring the livelihood and wellbeing of the people on the island.
It’s clear that the mainstream public on the island hopes for peaceful relations across the Straits, and there is deep concern about the tendency of the DPP authorities to trample on the red line and cause tensions to escalate or even start a conflict. As patriotic compatriots on both sides of the Straits are making the greatest effort to realize peaceful reunification, the „Taiwan independence“ movement is becoming increasingly unpopular on the island. An increasing number of people on the island realize that reunification is beneficial, „Taiwan independence“ is a dead end, and the US is unreliable.
Against the backdrop of increasingly tense China-US relations, the DPP authorities think they see an opportunity to seek private political interests, which is their biggest misjudgment. Prior to Tsai’s US transit, former US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said he believes a Taiwan with 1 million AK47-armed citizens on „every corner and in every apartment block“ would be a fearful deterrent to the mainland during his visit to Taiwan. Such frantic remarks confirm that the so-called „porcupine strategy“ of the US to arm the Taiwan island is essentially a „strategy of destroying Taiwan.“ For the over 23 million Taiwan compatriots, it has come to a critical moment when they must keep their eyes open.”
The Japanese Asahi Shimbun even speaks of threatened retaliation:
“China threatens to retaliate if McCarthy meets Taiwan leader
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 30, 2023 at 14:05 JST
BEIJING–China threatened retaliation on Wednesday if U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with Taiwan’s president during her upcoming trip through Los Angeles.
President Tsai Ing-wen left Taiwan Wednesday afternoon on a tour of the island’s diplomatic allies in the Americas, which she framed as a chance to demonstrate Taiwan’s commitment to democratic values on the world stage.
Tsai arrived in New York later in the day and was scheduled to spend Thursday in the city before heading to Guatemala and Belize. She is expected to stop in Los Angeles on her way back to Taiwan on April 5, when a meeting with McCarthy is tentatively scheduled.
The planned meeting has triggered fears of a heavy-handed Chinese reaction amid heightened friction between Beijing and Washington over U.S. support for Taiwan and trade and human rights issues.
The spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhu Fenglian, denounced Tsai’s stopovers and demanded that no U.S. officials meet with her.
“We firmly oppose this and will take resolute countermeasures,” Zhu said at a news conference. The U.S. should “refrain from arranging Tsai Ing-wen’s transit visits and even contact with American officials and take concrete actions to fulfill its solemn commitment not to support Taiwan independence,” she said.
Beijing claims self-governing Taiwan is part of its territory and threatens to bring the island under its control by force if necessary.
Speaking later Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China will “closely follow the development of the situation and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Mao said the United States was “conducting dangerous activities that undermine the political foundation of bilateral ties.”
McCarthy, a Republican from California, has said he will meet with Tsai when she is in the U.S. and has not ruled out the possibility of traveling to Taiwan in a show of support.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday that Tsai’s brief stops in the U.S. will be “consistent with our longstanding unofficial relationship with Taiwan and is consistent with the United States one China policy, which remains unchanged.”
“Every Taiwan president has transited the United States. President Tsai Ing-wen herself has transited the US six times since taking office in 2016, each time without incident,” Kirby said. “The People’s Republic of China should not use this transit as a pretext to step up any aggressive activity around the Taiwan Strait. United States and China have differences when it comes to Taiwan. But we have managed those differences for more than 40 years.”
Following a visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in 2022, Beijing launched missiles over the area, deployed warships across the median line of the Taiwan Strait and carried out military exercises in a simulated blockade of the island. Beijing also suspended climate talks with the U.S. and restricted military-to-military communication with the Pentagon.
Tsai told reporters before boarding her plane that “I want to tell the whole world democratic Taiwan will resolutely safeguard the values of freedom and democracy and will continue to be a force for good in the world, continuing a cycle of goodness, strengthening the resilience of democracy in the world.”
“External pressure will not obstruct our resolution to engage with the world,” she said.
Beijing has recently ramped up diplomatic pressure against Taiwan by poaching its dwindling number of diplomatic allies while also sending military fighter jets flying toward the island on a near-daily basis. Earlier this month, Honduras established diplomatic relations with China, leaving Taiwan with only 13 countries that recognize it as a sovereign state.
U.S. administration officials in a call with reporters ahead of Tsai’s arrival said her previous stopovers in the U.S. have included meetings with members of Congress and members of the Taiwanese diaspora. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive visit, said Tsai is also expected to meet with American Institute in Taiwan chair Laura Rosenberger. AIT is the U.S. government-run nonprofit that carries out unofficial relations with Taiwan.
One official added that “there is absolutely no reason” for Beijing to use Tsai’s stopover “as an excuse or a pretext to carry out aggressive or coercive activities aimed at Taiwan.”
Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to make the island’s decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step U.S. leaders say they don’t support. Pelosi was the highest-ranking elected American official to visit the island since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997. Under its “one China” policy, the U.S. acknowledges Beijing’s view that it has sovereignty over Taiwan but considers Taiwan’s status as unsettled. Taiwan is an important partner for Washington in the Indo-Pacific.
U.S. officials are increasingly worried about China attempting to make good on its long-stated goal of bringing Taiwan under its control. The sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949 and Beijing sees U.S. politicians’ visits as conspiring with Tsai’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party to make the separation permanent and stymy China’s rise as a global power.
The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which has governed U.S. relations with the island, does not require Washington to step in militarily if China invades but makes it American policy to ensure Taiwan has the resources to defend itself and to prevent any unilateral change of status by Beijing.
Tensions spiked earlier this year when U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a Chinese spy balloon shot down after it traversed the continental United States. The Biden administration has also said U.S. intelligence findings show that China is weighing sending arms to Russia for its war in Ukraine but has no evidence Beijing has done so yet.
China, however, has provided Russia with an economic lifeline and political support, and President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met in Moscow earlier this month. That was the first face-to-face meeting between the allies since before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.
The Biden administration postponed a planned visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony Blinken following the balloon controversy but has signaled it would like to get such a visit back on track.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao said the blame for tensions lies squarely with Washington for boosting relations with Tsai. Beijing has frozen almost all contacts with Tsai’s administration since shortly after she was elected to the first of her two terms in 2016.
“It is not that China overreacts. It is that the U.S. kept emboldening Taiwan independence forces, which is egregious in nature,” Mao said at a daily briefing.
Tsai’s state visits coincide with a 12-day trip to China by her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, of the pro-unification Nationalist Party, in an appeal to voters whose descendants arrived with Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated forces in 1949.
Ma has been visiting sites in the former Nationalist capital of Nanjing and emphasizing historical and cultural links between the sides, while avoiding the politically sensitive topics of China’s determination to eliminate Taiwan’s international presence and refusal to recognize its government.
Tsai is barred from seeking a third term and her party is widely expected to nominate Vice President Lai Ching-te to run for the presidency in January.
War is perhaps not to be expected this time, especially since China has just presented its Global Security Initiative at the Boao Conference and wants to present itself as a bringer of world peace, but if Tsai meets McCarthy or says something wrong in her speech, aggressive, bullying and threatening military maneuvers will probably follow , this time not only over the medium line and the ADIZ, but also over the „nautical mile“ ala last warning.