For Taiwan, Pelosi’s visit is about US and China risk control – Metro US

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The crisis sparked by the Speaker of the House Potential Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan misses a key point, experts say: that the focus should be on how the United States and China manage their differences so that the risks of confrontation do not spiral out of control.

News of a possible Pelosi visit has sparked intense speculation about China’s potential diplomatic and military responses. But for Taiwan, the visit — if it happens — would be just the latest point of contention in an already tense situation that has clouded island democracy for decades.

“The main thing is not that Pelosi comes to Taiwan, but to see how the United States and China effectively control the risks that may arise,” said Arthur Zhin-Sheng Wang, expert in studies of defense at the Central Taiwan Police University.

Wang said Thursday’s call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping was an example of how the two sides can manage their differences through dialogue. The fact that this happened in the midst of the debate over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a sign of at least a “basic level of mutual understanding”, he said.

Taiwan, meanwhile, has continued to strike a balance between the two superpowers primarily by keeping silent, even as tensions have risen.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen “has done everything possible to avoid unnecessary provocations while maintaining the integrity of Taiwanese democracy,” said Vincent Chao, former director of the political division of the Taiwan Representative Office in Washington, D.C. DC.

If her travels continue, Pelosi would be the highest-ranking American lawmaker to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich visited there more than 25 years ago.

Taiwan experts say they do not expect China to respond with direct military confrontation and that it is important to consider the potential visit in context.

“This is not an unnecessary provocation. This is in line with the precedent that has been set with the United States and Taiwan,” Chao said.

For Taiwan’s diplomatically isolated government, any exchange with a foreign political leader is seen as positive.

“We are very grateful to President Pelosi, who has been very supportive and friendly to Taiwan for many years, and we would be happy to welcome any friendly foreign guest,” Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said Wednesday.

China has continued to silence Taiwan on the world stage, opposing all official exchanges between the island and other governments. It has poached Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, including many small island states, offering them access to Beijing’s resources and support. And China threatens governments that send official visitors to Taiwan, as it has done with France, Lithuania and the European Union, among others.

Pelosi’s visit is no more threatening than Biden’s comments that the United States has a military commitment to defend Taiwan, said Natasha Kassam, director of the public opinion and foreign policy program at the Lowy Institute in Australia. . Biden has said it three times, even though US law and policy are more ambiguous. The remarks aroused strong condemnation of Beijing but no military action.

Experts say that just months before the all-important 20th Chinese Party Congress in the fall when Xi is expected to assume a third term as leader of the Party and the country, China is unlikely to make any destabilizing moves.

“China will punish Taiwan mainly through intimidation,” said Kuo Yu-jen, a defense studies expert at Taiwan’s National Policy Research Institute, citing a past example where China fired missiles at people. island ports during the Taiwan Strait in 1995-1996. Crisis.

Not all Taiwanese support Pelosi’s visit, and she is not known in the same way as former President Donald Trump or Biden.

On a balmy Friday morning in the island’s capital, tourists and families strolling through Da’an Park said they felt no threat of war.

Kelly Chou, a Taichung resident visiting Taipei for a vacation, said she didn’t feel any tension about the possibility of China attacking Taiwan.

“I saw the news, but I don’t think there would really be a military movement,” Chou said. “I think for them to actually invade, there’s nothing good to come of it. It will be bad for both parties.

Chou is not in favor of a visit from Pelosi, saying it would “cause more problems and raise a dispute.”

A 76-year-old Taipei resident who gave only his surname, Su, said Pelosi’s visit would offer “symbolic support”.

“But actually, whether Taiwan will get anything good out of it is a big question,” he said.

China’s assertiveness towards Taiwan has grown in recent years, with the People’s Liberation Army regularly flying military planes to the island. China has also sought to punish Taiwan with economic measures, such as banning exports of pineapples and grouper from the island to China.

A visit by Pelosi would likely cause short-term tension, said Wang, the defense studies expert, but he rejected aggressive threats from Chinese nationalist circles, including from Hu Xijin, a former editor of the newspaper. Global Times State.

This week, as Taiwan holds annual military exercises To practice for a possible Chinese invasion, the Japanese military said on Monday it spotted a Chinese reconnaissance drone flying in international waters off the east coast of Taiwan.

Military risks are real, experts say, but unlikely to reach wartime levels.

“Everyone’s intense speculation is indicative of how Taiwan is being tossed around like a political football, and quite pointless,” said Kassam of the Lowy Institute.

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