The whole world watched the airplane with Nancy Pelosi, the US House Speaker, traveling to Taiwan. This event marked the first visit of Taiwan by the US speaker in 25 years. So what is it all about?
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Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan
Our delegation had the distinct privilege of meeting with the President of Taiwan @Iingwen today.
We discussed how America & Taiwan can deepen our economic ties, further strengthen our security partnership & defend our shared democratic values. pic.twitter.com/VL509UYK4x
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 3, 2022
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan made history as it was the first time a US speaker visited the country in 25 years, since Newt Gingrich in 1997. Due to her prominent position as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi’s trip has increased tensions between the United States and China more than trips by other members of Congress.
Despite never having authority over Taiwan, it is seen as part of China’s territory by the Chinese Communist Party, which has long promised to reunite the island with the Chinese mainland, using force if necessary. China had been very clear about its warnings, even directly to the US president Joe Biden that playing with fire would have consequences. At the presidential office in Taipei, Pelosi said:
“Now more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, and that is the message we are bringing here today.”
While Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen warmly welcomed Pelosi, people shouted and held placards showing “Taiwan does not want war.” According to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, 21 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Tuesday, getting very close to an actual conflict.
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Will there be a conflict?
The ministry said different kinds of fighter jets made incursions around Taiwan. While Pelosi walked around the country, China banned importing and exporting citrus fruits, fish products, and other food to Taiwan. Both Pelosi and Tsai remained untouched by China’s warnings. The Taiwan president stated she refuses to back down despite facing obvious military threats.
The situation is dangerously similar to the one in Ukraine and Russia, and many citizens now must wonder if the same will happen. Pelosi said Taiwan can rely on the US and China should not stand in the way, and also praised the country as “one of the freest societies in the world.”
While there was a lot of noise around this visit, it was quick as Pelosi, with the congressional delegation, left Taiwan on Wednesday at around 6 p.m. of local time. No dangerous conflict should come out of this visit other than some mutual political support, but both US and Taiwan are now on thin ice as per China.