China ratchets up military and economic pressure on Taiwan as Pelosi begins her visit

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei on Tuesday night time, kicking off a controversial visit that had already strained the testy relationship between Beijing and Washington earlier than it even started.

China has spent weeks warning Pelosi to not come to the disputed territory, which Beijing considers a province of China, however which considers itself an unbiased nation.

These warnings escalated into actions through the hours forward of Pelosi’s arrival, which marked the primary time in 25 years that an American House speaker has visited Taiwan. The visit will reportedly final virtually 24 hours.

Hua Chunying, China’s assistant minister of international affairs, stated in a string of tweets Tuesday that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a “major political provocation.”

On Tuesday, China reportedly levied new import bans on greater than 100 Taiwanese merchandise, an obvious effort to impose a fast economic price on Taipei for its function in Pelosi’s excessive profile visit.

The Chinese military additionally flexed its muscle by holding reside fireplace workouts all day Saturday, simply 80 miles from Taiwan.

On Tuesday, as Pelosi’s visit drew close to, the People’s Liberation Army deployed fighter jets to the Taiwan Straits that flew very near the middle line of the strait, which is never crossed.

As Pelosi landed Tuesday night time, Chinese state affiliated media introduced that extra reside fireplace workouts could be performed over the approaching weekend — notably, after Pelosi has left the realm.

For China specialists, these military drills and bellicose public statements come as little shock.

“This is just something they have to do,” stated Andrew Mertha, the director of the China Global Research Center on the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

“I would frankly be very surprised if Beijing does anything physically threatening in any meaningful way. I mean, it’s not out of the question, but I would really be surprised,” he stated in an interview with CNBC.

“What is likely to happen is some sort of subsequent actions to demonstrate that China can do something if it wants to,” stated Mertha. “And that will be something as much for the domestic audience within China as for the international one.”

Later this yr, Chinese chief Xi Jinping is predicted to start an unprecedented third time period as the chief of the Chinese Communist Party.

Xi’s must consolidate public assist and energy inside his occasion are the lens via which we must be China’s geopolitical actions, diplomats and specialists say.

And that is precisely what makes Pelosi’s visit so provocative.

After weeks of refusing to substantiate or deny or focus on the Taiwan visit, Pelosi revealed a scathing op-ed in The Washington Post simply as she landed on Tuesday.

Taiwan, she wrote, “is under threat” from Beijing, which she painted as an existential hazard to free individuals all over the place.

“We take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” she stated. “We cannot stand by as the CCP proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself.”

“Our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.”

But whereas Pelosi’s op-ed was aimed squarely at Xi, this isn’t the identical technique that President Joe Biden, her fellow Democrat, has chosen to pursue.

Biden’s strategy to China is one which seeks to take care of a steady, predictable relationship with America’s greatest buying and selling associate, whereas additionally acknowledging that the Washington and Beijing are strategic adversaries.

Officially, the Biden administration was cautious in current weeks to keep away from immediately saying whether or not Biden agreed with Pelosi’s determination to visit Taiwan in. But unofficially, the White House and the Pentagon made little secret of their opposition to it.

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