House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, adopted a stance of defiance against the communist Chinese regime in response to veiled threats from Beijing about her reportedly impending visit to Taiwan.
Speaker Pelosi not only still intends to visit Taiwan next month, despite fierce Chinese opposition, but is also planning to bring other high-ranking members of Congress along with her, The Hill reported.
Pelosi’s planned visit to Taiwan is a major issue because the communist regime in Beijing has long claimed that Taiwan, an independent sovereign island nation since the 1940s, is actually just a rebellious breakaway province that will eventually be reunited with mainland China, by force if necessary.
For what it is worth, the U.S. government has long played an absurd diplomatic game in which, as a concession to China, it has not formally recognized Taiwan’s claimed independence, but nonetheless still unofficially trades with and provides military assistance to Taiwan’s democratic government.
Pelosi extends invites for Taiwan visit despite threats from China
NBC News reported Wednesday that Speaker Pelosi extended invitations to a number of high-level bipartisan members of Congress to join her on a visit to Taiwan in August, including the top two members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and ranking Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX).
McCaul shared that news with NBC as well as the fact that, due to personal obligations, he would, unfortunately, be unable to participate in the Taiwan trip. “Any member that wants to go, should. It shows political deterrence to President Xi,” the congressman said. “But she should also pay attention to the military if it’s going to cause a blowback and escalate things.”
The NBC report indicated that other members of Congress had also received an invite from Pelosi, though it remained unclear exactly who had been invited and who would be able to go. Furthermore, Pelosi’s office has yet to officially confirm that the trip will even take place, though that is undoubtedly due to standard operating procedures regarding security protocols for top officials.
According to the Associated Press, the initial reports about Pelosi’s planned visit to Taiwan had earned a sharp rebuke from Beijing as top regime officials vowed to take unspecified “resolute and strong measures” of retaliation if that trip went forward.
It is unclear what, exactly, China might do in response to a Pelosi-led congressional delegation to Taiwan, but increased tensions and provocative military maneuvers in a region already regarded as a major “Asian powder keg” seems most likely.
Biden defers to China, military concerns about an escalation
Meanwhile, as Speaker Pelosi and others have shown defiance toward China, President Joe Biden has displayed deference and seemed to suggest that he did not support Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan due to the possibility that it could heighten tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Speaking to reporters last week, when asked if the Pelosi trip was a “good idea,” Biden replied, “Well, I — I think that — the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what the status of it is.”
To be sure, Rep. McCaul had echoed a similar concern about potential “blowback” and escalation, but nonetheless signaled his approval of the planned visit in spite of those concerns in order to effectively display America’s own “resolute and strong” support for an independent Taiwan.