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Thursday, August 11, 2022, 11:05
Pelosi's trip to Taiwan blatantly provocative
By Harald Brüning
Thursday, August 11, 2022, 11:05 By Harald Brüning

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan is political arson which will worsen Sino-US relations.

Taipei-based former CNN correspondent Mike Chinoy has written an article, titled "What Does Nancy Pelosi Think She's Doing in Taiwan?", on Pelosi's controversial visit for the online Foreign Policy magazine. Like Chinoy, I too would like to know what motivated her to visit the island.

Pelosi’s ill-advised trip is part of the wave of anti-China hysteria that is sweeping the West. Sinophobia has become an obsession among some Western politicians and it has, I fear, racist connotations — subliminal or inadvertent in a best-case scenario

I wonder whether she's aware of the damage that her sojourn in Taipei will cause to not only Sino-US relations, the world's most consequential bilateral ties, but also global governance.

I agree with Chinoy that the "risky trip …is a photo-op to enable Pelosi to poke Beijing in the eye as she has done in the past".

No doubt, the visit was gratuitously provocative.

The 82-year-old Democrat leader is not a lightweight like European Parliament Vice-President Nicola Beer who, in an apparent folie de grandeur, described Pelosi's visit last month as a "sort of deterrence" to Beijing. Pelosi, known for her penchant for grandstanding, is a heavyweight in US politics, ranking third in the state hierarchy-behind President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris.

When Republican Newt Gingrich visited Taiwan in his capacity as House speaker in 1997, he represented the opposition as Democrat Bill Clinton was the US president at the time. This time, however, both the US president and House speaker are Democrats.

Did Biden at least try to talk Pelosi out of the Taiwan trip? We will never know.

Biden was given advance warning on July 28 by President Xi Jinping against Pelosi's visit. According to Xinhua News Agency, Xi warned the US side against "playing with fire" on the Taiwan question.

But Biden blithely ignored the warning or was incapable of preventing Pelosi from "playing with fire".

The upshot is that Pelosi has become a political firebug. I can't imagine a politician as adroit as her didn't realize the "fiery" impact her Taiwan trip would have.

I have visited Taiwan about half a dozen times during the past few decades. I like its people, landscape and food. Portuguese seafarers called Taiwan the "beautiful island", while the island's Chinese name means "high-and-flat bay".

I have noticed during my visits to the island how profoundly Chinese it is in terms of culture, language, traditions and customs, folk belief and its culinary delights. For instance, Mazu is a cross-Straits deity revered in Taiwan, Fujian province and the Macao Special Administrative Region.

As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said, the US breach of faith on the Taiwan question is despicable. He is right, because according to the three joint communiques signed by Beijing and Washington between 1972 and 1982, the US formally acknowledges that there is only one China, and that Taiwan is an integral part of China.

I concur with Chinoy that the 23 million people of Taiwan will be left to face the consequences of Pelosi's folly.

It's a shame that Sino-US relations have reached a new nadir-the last thing the world facing an economic trough, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, trade sanctions, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic needs now.

Pelosi's ill-advised trip is part of the wave of anti-China hysteria that is sweeping the West. Sinophobia has become an obsession among some Western politicians and it has, I fear, racist connotations-subliminal or inadvertent in a best-case scenario.

Accusing "the Chinese" of "stealing" and "cheating" is an eerie reminder of what happened to our Jewish and Black friends in the not-too-distant past.

So once the dust settles, China-US relations need to be reset-the entire world would benefit from it. For that, however, the US and its allies have to accept once and for all that the Taiwan question is China's internal matter. It's the redline which should never be crossed.

The author is director of the Macau Post Daily.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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