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UPDATE: Pelosi lands in Taiwan

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Update (11amET):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed in Taiwa

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making the highest-level trip in 25 years by a U.S. government official to Taiwan, a self-governing island that China’s Communist Party claims as a part of its territory.

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According to a senior Taiwanese government official and a US official, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan during her trip to Asia. However, the Biden administration, and China, have warned her not to go.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have caused the White House concern over how Pelosi’s visit might invoke a reaction from China. Currently the delegation’s itinerary publicly includes stops in South Korea and Japan, but not Taiwan.

CNN reports that during a regular foreign ministry briefing Monday, China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s planned visit to the self-governing island that China claims as a part of its territory and reiterated that its military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened.

“We would like to tell the US once again that China is standing by, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, when asked about the fallout from Pelosi leading a congressional delegation to Taipei.

“As for what measures, if she dares to go, then let’s wait and see,” Zhao added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the administration’s line that it is Pelosi’s decision whether she visits, adding, “we do not know what Speaker Pelosi intends to do.”

The Taiwanese official stated Pelosi is expected to be in Taiwan overnight, although it is unclear when she will land. The U.S. official says the Defense Department is securing a safety plan for the Speaker, as well as monitoring Chinese “movements” in the region.

“Congress is an independent, coequal branch of government,” Blinken said at the United Nations on Monday afternoon. “The decision is entirely the Speaker’s…And so if the speaker does decide to visit and China tries to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that would be entirely on Beijing,” Blinken said. “We are looking for them, in the event she decides to visit, to act responsibly and not to engage in in any escalation going forward.”

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China

China Ratchets Up Propaganda as Pelosi Prepares to Visit Taiwan

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While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks like she is moving forward with her planned visit to Taiwan, China is ratcheting up its propaganda war against Taiwan and the United States. Chinese government media is stating that Taiwan is part of China, China is prepared to use force over Taiwan, Chinese “countermeasures” to any visit by Pelosi will be severe, and the United States and Taiwan are the ones that are instigating conflict.

Chinese state-run media continues to claim that Taiwan is an integral part of the mainland. A Pelosi visit to Taiwan would “seriously harm China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, as cited by XinhuaNet. A Global Times article cited a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as stating that Taiwan is an issue of “national reunification,” and “at the heart of China’s core interests.” Another Global Times article welcomed the possibility of China’s eventual intrusion into “the airspace above Taiwan” as “a legitimate and righteous move to manifest China’s sovereignty over the island.”

LISTEN TO #TheSaraCarterShow ON CHINA IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE 

Chinese government media also claims that China is prepared to use force over Taiwan. A Global Times article cites the above professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as stating that “[r]eunification by force is the most effective way to prevent Taiwan secessionism.” Another Global Times article cites “an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,” as claiming that China threatened “the possibility of extremely drastic diplomatic and military measures against the US [if Pelosi visits Taiwan], and the US cannot afford to face such a response.”

Chinese state-run media further specifies this hypothetical use of force if Pelosi visits Taiwan. Pelosi’s visit would result in an “overwhelming response” that would result in “a game-changer for cross-Straits relations,” according to Global Times. Potential responses from China would include PLA aircraft escorting Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, “set[ting] a great precedent for the PLA to patrol above the island,” according to a Global Times article. Another Global Times article, citing a “Chinese military expert,” floated the idea of the Chinese military declaring Taiwan a PLA drill zone, and intercepting planes flying over Taiwan in the event that Pelosi visits Taiwan [meaning, establishing a “no-fly” zone]. This military expert further suggested that China’s PLA Rocket Force could similarly conduct “drills” targeting US ships.

And according to Chinese government media, it is the US and Taiwan that are at fault for the current crisis over Taiwan. According to China Daily, Pelosi’s visit would demonstrate that the US is “trying to seize the initiative to change the status quo across the Straits, and use the island as a launch pad for confrontation with China. Another China Daily article remarked that the potential for Pelosi’s visit shows that the “Taiwan question [is] being recklessly hijacked by Washington politicians” and that “[s]ome of the more hawkish US politicians have been unable to hide their glee that…[Pelosi’s visit] might lead to a military clash.”

Chinese state-run media is also asserting that the US and Taiwan are unprepared for any situation in the Taiwan Strait. The US is “semi-paralyzed and divided” and “politically weak,” according to Global Times. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called for visiting Taiwan with Nancy Pelosi, is a “‘marginal figure’ with limited funding” and a “troublemaker,” according to Global Times. Taiwan’s recent Han Kuang military drills “are more of a show rather than anything of military significance,” according to a “Beijing-based military expert” as cited by Global Times.

Chinese government media continues to peddle an anti-US and anti-Taiwan narrative. With this narrative, China hopes to justify, for domestic and international consumption, an attempted confrontation or invasion of Taiwan. As the global supply chain, semi-conductors, and peace in the Pacific hang in the balance, the Biden administration needs to counter Chinese aggression in both word and deed.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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