Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Threats of war between China and the United States? 4 questions to understand what is happening in Taiwan

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While Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has just arrived in Taiwan, China has threatened the United States to have to “pay the price” for this official trip. Here is what we know of the tense context between the two powers.

China has its eyes on Nancy Pelosi. Since the announcement of her trip to Asia and her arrival in Malaysia on Tuesday, the speaker of the American House of Representatives has been threatened by China. Indeed, while she has just landed in Taiwan, her visit could be a source of escalation of tensions between the three states. But why such reactions? The Dispatch takes stock of what is happening in Taiwan.

Why is Nancy Pelosi’s visit a problem?

China warned on Tuesday that the United States will bear the “responsibility” of a visit to Taiwan by the speaker of the American House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi during her Asian tour and that they will have to “pay the price”. “The United States will certainly be responsible (for the consequences) and will have to pay the price for their attack on China’s sovereignty and security,” Chinese diplomacy spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

Beijing considers the island as part of its territory to be reunified, by force if necessary, and has repeatedly warned Washington against a visit by the senior official which would be seen as a major provocation.

Nancy Pelosi, who has just landed on Taiwanese soil, had simply indicated that the Americans were “engaged in a wide range of discussions on the means of achieving our common objectives and securing the Indo-Pacific”.

What are the relations between China, the United States and Taiwan?

Currently, 23 million Taiwanese live under the constant threat of an invasion from China, a fear that has increased since the rise to power of President Xi Jinping, who has made reunification a priority. Last week, during a telephone conversation with the American president, Xi Jinping called on the United States not to “play with fire”.

The United States practices with regard to Taiwan a so-called “strategic ambiguity” diplomacy, consisting in recognizing only one Chinese government, that of Beijing, while continuing to provide decisive support to Taipei. Washington, however, refrains from saying whether or not the United States would defend the island militarily in the event of an invasion.

“As we see it, such a visit seems very dangerous and very provocative,” Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun said at a press conference. “If this visit takes place, it will also weaken the relationship between China and the United States. I’m sure the United States understands that.”

To support their message, the Chinese military released a video on the Internet on Monday with a martial tone showing soldiers shouting that they are ready for combat, fighters taking off, paratroopers jumping from a plane or even a rain of missiles. which annihilate various targets.

What are the fears of the United States?

“There is no reason for Beijing to make this visit, which does not depart from long-standing American doctrine, a form of crisis,” White House spokesman John Kirby said on Monday August 1. .

Although most observers rate the likelihood of armed conflict as low, US officials have said they are preparing for possible displays of force by the Chinese military, such as missile strikes in the Taiwan Straits or massive aerial incursions. around the island. On Tuesday, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said in a statement that it was “determined” to protect the island against threats from China.

“The likelihood of a war or a serious incident is low,” however, tweeted Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program of the American think tank German Marshall Fund. “But the likelihood that (China) will take a series of military, economic and diplomatic measures to show its strength and determination is not negligible,” she added. “It is likely that it will seek to punish Taiwan in multiple ways.”

At the announcement of the visit of Nancy Pelosi, “Chinese Su-35 fighter jets” are “crossing the Taiwan Strait”, which separates mainland China from the island claimed by Beijing, indicated this Tuesday evening Chinese state television CGTN.

What relationship with Vladimir Putin?

This visit to Taiwanese soil could also generate strong tensions, already present because of the war in Ukraine, between the United States and Russia. Indeed, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are close allies who have stood together since the start of the conflict.

A trip by the speaker of the American House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan would be a “pure provocation”, estimated Tuesday the Kremlin, insisting on the “absolute solidarity” of Russia with China.

“Everything related to (…) a possible trip to Taiwan is pure provocation. This aggravates the situation in the region and increases tensions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Nation World News Desk
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