Taiwanese newspapers worry at fallout of Nancy Pelosi’s visit
While Nancy Pelosi left Taipei for South Korea on Wednesday, Chinese language newspapers in Taiwan worried over the fallout of the visit
Chinese language newspapers of Taiwan and China have reacted differently to the visit to Taipei by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives (the Lower House), Nancy Pelosi. She, along with a Congressional delegation, landed late on August 2 night and left for South Korea on Wednesday after less than 24 hours of stay. Ms. Pelosi’s visit to the island nation is the first one of a highest-level US official in 25 years.
Taipei 101, the tallest building in Taiwan and one of the tallest in Asia was lit up with LED messages welcoming “Speaker Pelosi”.
Apple Daily, Liberty Times and United Daily News—prominent newspapers of Taiwan—made her visit the lead story. The Apple Daily claimed that Ms. Pelosi was to secretly visit Taiwan in April itself but it had to be cancelled because the news got leaked.
According to United Daily News, people of Taiwan had mixed feelings about her visit. “…some Taiwanese people are very excited but there are also many people who are worried that cross-(Taiwan) Strait relations have dropped to a freezing point,” reported the Daily.
The Taiwan Strait is a 180-km long passage of the South China Sea which separates mainland China with Taiwan. Of late Beijing has indulged in a lot of muscle flexing in this region and is going to undertake a military exercise between August 4 and 7.
Chinese dailies and social media have predictably come down heavily on Ms. Pelosi and reiterated Beijing’s commitment to the ‘One China’ policy.
The People’s Daily said that the visit of the US House Speaker to Taiwan is a serious violation of the One-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués. It also went on to say that the fact that there is only one China in the world and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China has been clearly recognized by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2758 of 1971.
China Daily, another prominent newspaper, too criticised Ms Pelosi’s visit and said that it has exacerbated the already existing cross-Strait tensions. It quoted Beijing’s remarks that “her visit to and activities in Taiwan, in whatever form and for whatever reason, are a major political provocation in order to upgrade US official exchanges with Taiwan.”
China Military Online maintained that in the backdrop of Ms. Pelosi’s visit, the Taiwan question has emerged as the most important issue at the heart of US-China relations. It added that the right way for the two countries to deal with each other lay only in mutual respect and peaceful co-existence.
It noted that Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan did not have the full backing of the Biden Administration. A New York Times commentator called it ‘reckless’ and against the wishes of the Joe Biden Administration. Washington does not want to open another front in East Asia as it is already embroiled in the Russia-Ukraine war in East Europe. The US and European economies are feeling the heat of the bloody conflict around Black Sea.
Only last week President Biden had a two hour and 20-minute- long telephonic talk with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
It was interpreted as an effort to calm down the temperature.
It appears that Pelosi is getting more enthusiastic support from
Republican Congressmen and women than her own Democratic colleagues.
Experts are of the view that Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan has less to do with her stature as the third most powerful person in US and more to do with her being a champion of Human Rights and democracy. On August 3, she visited the National Human Rights Museum in Jingmei as well as the Taiwanese Parliament.
Though she has left the island Republic, people in Taiwan are keeping their fingers crossed as they neither want to antagonize China nor want to lose the friendly hand of the US.
(The writer is an independent researcher)