Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan rekindles US-China tensions

i24NEWS

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This photo taken and released by the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 2, 2022 shows Nancy Pelosi being greeted upon arrival in Taipei, Taiwan.
Handout / Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) / AFPThis photo taken and released by the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 2, 2022 shows Nancy Pelosi being greeted upon arrival in Taipei, Taiwan.

‘Neither the United States nor China will risk a frontal war’

Relations between China and Taiwan have been complex since their separation in 1949. 

For Beijing, Taiwan is the 23rd province of the country, and Xi Jinping says he is ready to impose Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan by force.

The arrival of Nancy Pelosi, US House Speaker, on Tuesday after several days of suspense symbolizes the support of the United States for a democracy in the face of the Chinese oppressor.

It also signifies Washington's readiness to confront Beijing, raising fears of an escalation with significant global consequences, even though the fighting has been going on between Russia and Ukraine for more than five months.

It is impossible to decipher the situation without recalling that the United States has largely contributed to the rise of the Chinese economy, investing massively in the country, hoping that a more developed China would come closer to the West. To the point of wondering "if they did not themselves create a Chinese 'superpower' against their interests."

"The United States feels the loss of its economic supremacy held in the 21st century for the benefit of China," Michel Gurfinkiel, a historian and expert on international policy, told i24NEWS.

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In this context, the idea of ​​"resisting" China, which itself has played a double game, is very popular both among Democrats and Republicans, and unites them in the times of unprecedented political polarization.

“This visit by Nancy Pelosi, as popular on the right as on the left among Americans, represents a hope for the Democratic Party to reconstitute this 'living together,' under the prism of international politics,” Gurfinkiel explained.

According to the historian, Pelosi animates an anti-Chinese current as resolute as the Republicans, which reinforces the idea of ​​a possibility of a return to a certain consensus concerning international politics as the mid-term approaches on November 8.

"In this context, many political figures are tempted to play the consensus card in international politics to score points against their respective competitors," he said.

Pelosi has always had a very particular attitude with China. She fought against the autocratic dictatorial aspects of the Chinese regime which never democratized, and took a stand in favor of Taiwan independence. But she also defends democracy in China, firmly supporting her advocates, against the power in place.

"Her visit to Taiwan boosts her image domestically, and brilliantly embodies the possibility of political harmony in international politics," Gurfunkiel said.

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The United States, which seems to have decided to respond to Chinese aggression, gives new relief to the question of the independence of Taiwan.

"Neither the United States nor China will risk a frontal war between the two great powers over the Taiwan question. But on the model of Ukraine, there could be a kind of 'war of attrition' with Washington which would help Taiwan militarily and economically as it helps Ukraine without directly confronting Russia," Emmanuel Navon, professor of international relations at Tel Aviv University, told i24NEWS.

"Even if China decided to invade Taiwan, it would be 'difficult if not impossible' to isolate Beijing economically as Washington is currently doing it with Moscow," he added.

After Tuesday's visit, experts predict that China-US relations, already at rock bottom, will continue to deteriorate. But neither side seems ready to go too far.

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