US House of Representatives Speaker and China hawk Nancy Pelosi’s rumored plan to visit Taiwan as part of her tour of Asia has sparked debate among US politicians, infuriated China and invigorated Taiwan. As Pelosi was expected to arrive last night, Taiwanese were all on tenterhooks and looking forward to her visit.
Pelosi’s proposal to visit Taiwan has put its sovereignty on the map.
The planned visit has upended Washington’s political divide while causing a fervor in the global media. Even European countries that seldom participate in Indo-Pacific affairs were concerned about the visit.
In the US, even though they are both Democrats, Pelosi’s moral courage played in sharp contrast to US President Joe Biden’s indecisiveness and feeble response, when he said: “The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now.”
However, Biden decided against asking Pelosi to cancel her trip, largely because of his respect for the independence of the US Congress and democracy.
The contrast between the two politicians has shown that supporting Taiwan is the US’ mainstream idea of justice, while “strategic ambiguity” is increasingly a thing of the past.
Pelosi’s push to visit Taiwan received encouragement from the Republican Party. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich gave as an example his meeting with then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in 1997.
Asked about the possibility of Pelosi traveling to Taiwan amid China’s threats, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said solemnly that Pelosi would be handing China a “victory of sorts” if she backed off from the expected trip to Taiwan.
Since the robust support for Taiwan by the administration of former US president Donald Trump and due to Taiwan’s critical role in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US media have covered Taiwan more than ever before. Pelosi’s plan to visit has put Taiwan in the media’s spotlight, thereby improving Americans’ understanding of the nation.
Meanwhile, she has driven Beijing to distraction. Beijing’s hostility has only exposed its self-deception and underscored that it is an emperor with no clothes.
As China has always claimed sovereignty over Taiwan in the global community, Pelosi’s plan to visit would offer an invaluable opportunity for China to prove its claim. If true, all China would need to do would be to deny Pelosi admission. However, China resorted to threats and saber rattling, making one thing clear to the global community: Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state.
Whether Pelosi visits Taiwan is up to her alone. Only Taiwan holds the right to control its borders, while China can only huff and puff and reveal itself as a paper tiger.
China’s aggression has only exposed its own flaw, as the US must have investigated and implemented the necessary precautions for a visit by Pelosi, and concluded that China has no plans to invade Taiwan.
Nonetheless, if there was a last-minute change of plan, there is no need for discouragement, as Pelosi’s planned visit has already succeeded in putting Taiwan on the global map.
Tommy Lin is director of Wu Fu Eye Clinic and president of the Formosa Republican Association.
Translated by Rita Wang
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