Over the course of the last several days, China has spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about the possibility that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could visit Taiwan.
Much like Russia believes that Ukraine doesn’t have a right to exist, China believes that Taiwan is just another territory of theirs. By potentially visiting Taiwan, Pelosi would be sending a message that the US recognizes Taiwan’s sovereignty, thus undermining and embarrassing the authoritarian regime in Beijing.
On Tuesday night, Madame Speaker did just that.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., landed in Taiwan late Tuesday evening local time, and she is expected to meet members of Taiwan’s legislature and President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with planning for her visit.
The highly-anticipated stop has faced stark warnings from China, in turn worrying the White House that it could trigger a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and worsen already tense U.S.-China relations. China sent two Su-35 fighter jets across the Taiwan strait ahead of Pelosi’s arrival, according to state broadcaster CCTV, and the spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry said on Twitter, “The US & Taiwan have made provocations together first, whereas China has been compelled to act in self-defense.”
China was quick to react.
In response to Pelosi’s visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement that said, in part, it was a “serious violation of the one-China principle.” The ministry added, “It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence.'”
China’s lack of a military response was notable as well, after several days’ worth of Beijing’s bluster, including threats to possibly shoot Pelosi’s plane down.