A Taiwan resident displays a placard reading "oppose Pelosi visit to avoid war between two shores" as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in New Taipei City on Wednesday. (SAM YEH / AFP)
China has unveiled a number of countermeasures in response to United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative Taiwan visit, which analysts said will heighten tensions across the Taiwan Straits and further worsen the deteriorated China-US ties.
The measures include staging military drills near Taiwan, conducting large-scale air and naval activities, punishing organizations related to diehard “Taiwan independence” elements, and suspending natural sand exports to Taiwan as well as the imports of some farm produce from the island.
Shortly after Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei late at night on Aug 2, Vice-Foreign Minister Xie Feng summoned US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns to protest the US House speaker’s visit to the island, stressing that the nature of Pelosi’s visit is vicious and the consequences are very grave.
Qin Gang, Chinese ambassador to the US, lodged stern representations with and strongly protested to the US on Aug 2 over Pelosi’s visit, which he blasted as “reckless and provocative”.
China firmly urges the US to stop playing the “Taiwan card” and using Taiwan to contain China, immediately correct its mistake, manage and eliminate the pernicious impact of Pelosi’s visit, and refrain from further dangerous and provocative moves infringing on China’s sovereignty and security, Qin said.
Pelosi, the second in line to the US presidency, concluded the highest-level visit in 25 years by a US government official to Taiwan on Aug 3. During her stay in Taipei, she visited the legislature of the island, and met with Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, as well as some “human rights activists”.
Leaving Taiwan, Pelosi flew to South Korea, part of her Asian tour which has taken her to Singapore, Malaysia and will also see her visit Japan.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “a sheer farce” and that it would not alter the international consensus on the one-China principle, nor the historical trend that Taiwan will return to the motherland.
In a statement on Aug 3, Wang said the visit proves once again that some US politicians have become “troublemakers” in China-US relations, and that the US has become the “biggest destroyer” of peace across the Taiwan Straits and of regional stability.
Clinging to the US to seek “independence” is a dead end, and attempts to use the Taiwan question to contain China are doomed to failure, he added.
Experts said the huge uncertainty surrounding Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has summed up the intensely volatile nature and unpredictability of China-US relations.
Chen Bing, a Chinese media commentator, said Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a serious political incident that has harmed China-US relations and might also lead to military confrontation between the two major countries.
China will undoubtedly step up reunification efforts, and respond to external interference on the Taiwan question with more effective means in order to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command continued to carry out combat exercises around Taiwan on Aug 3, mobilizing some of the PLA’s top hardware such as the J-20 stealth fighter jet and the DF-17 medium-range hypersonic ballistic missile.
The command announced late on Aug 2 that it had started a series of joint operations in the air and waters surrounding Taiwan starting that evening amid the provocative visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Pelosi.
Major General Gu Zhong, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said on Aug 3 that the joint military actions are necessary measures to respond to the dangerous moves made by the US and the Taiwan authorities.
Politicians and people in Taiwan aired their anger and concern after Pelosi’s visit to the island, which has resulted in an escalation of tensions across the Taiwan Straits.
Protesters on Aug 2 gathered outside the Grand Hyatt, the hotel Pelosi chose to stay in after landing in Taipei. They shouted “Yankee go home” and carried signs calling the speaker a “warmonger”.
Wu Cherng-dean, chairman of the New Party, said his party is firmly opposed to Pelosi’s visit, and that she should not have been welcomed because it was “harmful to Taiwan without bringing any benefits”.
“Pelosi’s visit would push Taiwan over the cliff and turn the island into a war zone,” said Wu, who was among the protesters outside the hotel. “She is only here to light the blasting fuse.”
Chung Chin, former director-general of Taiwan’s information office, said that although Pelosi clearly understands cross-Straits tensions, she insisted on visiting Taiwan.
“She is an ugly American with ill intentions of using Taiwan as a pawn. The island’s leader Tsai Ing-wen is a traitor. The people of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are capable of solving the Taiwan question in a peaceful manner,” Chung said.
Members of the public also expressed concern after Pelosi left Taiwan in the afternoon on Aug 3.
Lin Yen-chen, a young person from Taiwan, said by receiving Pelosi, the island administration has totally ignored the development interests of the people.
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