US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has created trouble in East Asia, deliberately.
The 82-year-old, who is due to step down later this year, visited China’s Taiwan region despite Beijing’s strong opposition. The visit is an open defiance of the one-China principle adopted by the US, and infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Shortly after Pelosi landed in Taiwan on August 2, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement, calling her trip a serious violation of the one-China principle and the three joint communiques governing bilateral relations.
As recognized by the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 of 1971, Taiwan is an integral part of China’s territory, and the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. Therefore, the one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community and a basic norm in international relations.
In the three China-US joint communiques, the fundamental political documents that have ensured stability and progress in bilateral ties for over five decades, Washington not only acknowledged that “there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China,” but also promised that the United States will maintain cultural, commercial and other unofficial relations with Taiwan.
Pelosi is the second in line to the US presidency. People who are able to distinguish between right and wrong do not believe that her trip in her capacity as the speaker of the House of Representatives is “unofficial.” It violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and trembles peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in East Asia.
Pelosi’s visit came amid widespread warnings and criticisms. Various organizations and countries have voiced support for the one-China principle and defended China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity over Taiwan.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated support for Resolution 2758 of 1971 and the one-China policy. “That is the orientation that we have in everything we do,” he told reporters while answering a question regarding Pelosi’s visit.
Commenting on Pelosi’s trip, the Zimbabwean government spokesperson calls it “intrusive, imprudent and provocative.” Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, says the visit stirred up tensions across the Taiwan Strait and that Zimbabwe is opposed to any endeavors that seek to pursue the “Taiwan Independence” agenda.
Meantime, Zimbabwe’s ruling party ZANU-PF has published a statement, condemning what it terms Pelosi’s misguided trip to Taiwan. The party urges Pelosi to stop hiding behind the cloak of false democratic excuses while trampling on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also calls on the US to behave as a responsible superpower on the global stage.
Russia believes Pelosi’s visit creates an annoyance almost out of the blue, warning Washington that the visit puts it on a collision course with Beijing. Serbia says that it adheres to the one-China principle and considers Taiwan to be an inseparable part of China. Belarus says it supports the necessary measures taken by China to achieve national reunification.
On the surface, Pelosi seems to play with fire at the individual level, but in essence, it is a bad move in the US’s overall strategy to contain China.
“Pelosi’s deliberate play of the ‘Taiwan card’ and her visit to the Taiwan region despite the Chinese government’s warning and domestic opposition will be one of the ugliest, most unsuccessful and lose-lose attempts of U.S. interference in China’s internal affairs.” Chen Wenling, chief economist of the China Center for International Economic Exchange, said in an article.
“Taiwan is the reddest of red-lines marking China’s core interest. A tsunami of patriotic comments has flooded Chinese social media. Chinese from all walks of life – common citizens, intellectuals, military leaders, business leaders – come together on Taiwan.” Robert Lawrence Kuhn, a public intellectual of the US wrote in a commentary for CGTN.
After Pelosi touched down in Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army of China announced joint-military, live-fire drills to be held at six locations surrounding Taiwan’s coastline, near Taiwan’s largest ports, interrupting flights and shipping, simulating a blockade of the entire island.
The PLA stated, “The military operations are a stern deterrent against the recent major escalation of the negative acts by the United States on the Taiwan question, and a serious warning against separatist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence’.”
In addition, the Chinese mainland has suspended the export of natural sand to Taiwan and imports of some 2 000 products from Taiwan, including citrus and fish.
It needs to be pointed out that these are the first waves of countermeasures, which have already demonstrated China’s resolution to guard national safety and interest.
Gao Junya is a Harare-based journalist with China Media Group