We explain why Nancy Pelosi’s arrival is straining relations between China and the US

She had declared “Come in Peace”. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi departed Taiwan on Wednesday, August 3, after a controversial visit to the Chinese-claimed island for less than 24 hours as part of her tour of several Asian countries. His remarkable visit comes amid heightened tensions between China and the US in recent days. The 82-year-old “Speaker” is the highest elected US official to visit the archipelago in twenty-five years.

Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, has already declared that it would be reunified by force if necessary. Francinfo explains the issues surrounding the recent rise in tensions between China and the US.

Why does this visit anger Beijing?

Although the visit to Taiwan was not included in Nancy Pelosi’s diary, several American and Taiwanese press titles mentioned her visit and meeting with the island’s president. The senior US official finally arrived on the island on Tuesday evening aboard a US military aircraft, greeted by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. His welcome was filmed and broadcast live on television.

China immediately opposed the visit because it considers and denies Taiwan a part of its territory Any attempt to grant international recognition to Taiwanese authorities. US officials visit the island frequently. But China judges the visit of Nancy Pelosi, the third person in the US state, to be a major provocation. Chinese President Xi Jinping had already called on the US in a phone conversation with his US counterpart Joe Biden last week. “Don’t play with fire”.

Since the 1979 restoration of diplomatic relations between China and the United States initiated by President Jimmy Carter, Washington has recognized only one Chinese government. The US is also practicing “Strategic Ambiguity”A diplomatic position that avoids the country saying whether or not it will defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an invasion.

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Why did Nancy Pelosi decide to go to Taiwan despite these threats?

The 82-year-old “speaker” said in a statement that his visit to Taiwan proved that. “Unconditional Support” United Nations “For Democracy in Action” of the island. The elected Democrat said the visit was not conflicted“no way” America’s long-standing policy toward China.

In a column published in parallel In The Washington Post (In English), Nancy Pelosi also promises to aim for in her visit to Taiwan“Democracy should be on the side of threatened Taiwan (…)”.

Asked by franceinfo, Médiapart journalist and expert on China, François Bougon, recalled that the visit was not undertaken at the initiative of the US administration. This is where we see the importance of Congress in US policy toward Taiwan.He is analyzing.

However, the White House said Monday that Nancy Pelosi had “Right to Taiwan” : “There is no reason for Beijing to make this visit, which does not deviate from long-standing US doctrine, which is a form of crisis.”His spokesman John Kirby said.

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What about Taiwan?œWhat are these tensions?

The island’s status stems from the history of its relations with China. And precisely in 1949, when Communist forces led by Mao Zedong seized power in Beijing, toppling the government of the Nationalist Kuomintang Party, which had been at the helm of the country since 1912, and declaring the People’s Republic of China. The deposed executive went into exile on the island of Taiwan and established the Republic of China (ROC, in English) there. Both regimes continue to exercise control over Chinese territory.

Today, more than seventy years later, Beijing still considers Taiwan to be reintegrated under Communist rule, even though the archipelago does not control all Chinese territory. And Xi Jinping’s country does not hesitate to confront any attempt at independence. As evidence, Chinese authorities have steadily increased pressure on Taiwan since current President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 from a pro-independence party.

Internationally, Taiwan’s position is unclear. The ROC has not had a seat in the UN since 1971, he recalled Le Figaro. Its existence is recognized only by 15 small countries the world. Most of them “Taiwan really has all the characteristics of a state”According to franceinfo Françoise Mengin, Research Director at CERI (Centre for International Research) Sciences Po in November 2021. The island, which enjoys a democratic system, has been ruled by its own power since the Communist victory in 1949.

What retaliations has China already announced?

In the wake of Nancy Pelosi’s visit, China condemned this approach “Very Dangerous” America, promises “Targeted Military Operations”. The country specifically announced that more than 200 military aircraft had penetrated its air defense zone, far from the archipelago’s borders.

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Before Nancy Pelosi arrived, Des “Chinese Su-35 fighter jets” was already there “Across the Taiwan Strait”Beijing is separating mainland China from the island it claims, Chinese state television CGTN reported.

Purpose of military action “Resolutely uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely defeat external interference and separatist attempts at ‘Taiwan independence'”, said a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Army exercises are already planned across the island.

Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce announced the sanctions, which included halting exports of natural sand to Taiwan – a key component in the manufacture of semiconductors, one of the island’s top exports. China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, with trade expected to grow 26% to $328 billion in 2021, AFP recalls.

Is there a risk of military escalation in the region?

China’s announcement of retaliation raises concerns in the archipelago region. Japan said on Wednesday “related to” It’s in front “Targeted Military Operations” As promised by Beijing, some of them will take place within the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

For Sylvie Berman, the former French ambassador to China, there is no real danger of escalation at the moment. Asked about France Inter on Wednesday, the diplomat said he believed China would go for nothing but a show of strength and economic sanctions.

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