After weeks of silence ahead of a high-stakes visit to Taiwan, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was anything but understated on Wednesday during a day of high-profile meetings, in which she offered support for Taiwan and irked China, reports The New York Times.
In a pair of morning meetings that were partly broadcast online, Ms. Pelosi met with Taiwanese lawmakers and then with Taiwan’s president to whom she offered assurances of United States support despite threats from China.
"Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy," Ms. Pelosi said. "America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad."
As Pelosi Departs Taiwan, China Gears Up for Military Drills (The New York Times)
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Excerpt from The New York Times: The meetings, though light on substance, were widely welcomed in Taiwan as a symbolic victory. Ms. Pelosi’s trip made her the highest-ranking active member of the United States government to visit the island in 25 years and offered a rare moment of international support for the self-ruled democratic island, which China has worked relentlessly to isolate. They also presented an affront to China. Ms. Pelosi, who headed to South Korea late Wednesday afternoon, also met with human rights leaders in Taiwan and toured a human rights museum. It was in keeping with her long history of poking China in the eye. She also brought economic assurances, calling a trade deal between Taiwan and the United States hopefully imminent and holding a cordial meeting with the chairman of the Taiwan chip giant T.S.M.C.
According to the Associated Press, China declared Friday it was stopping all dialogue with the United States on major issues over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, including crucial climate cooperation between the two nations that led to the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. The White House summoned China’s ambassador to protest what it called China’s “irresponsible” actions since the visit.
China halts climate, military ties over Pelosi Taiwan visit (Associated Press)
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Excerpt from the Associated Press: China’s declaration adds to rapidly escalating tensions that followed Pelosi’s visit and the Chinese response with military exercises off Taiwan, including firing missiles that splashed down in surrounding waters. White House spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that China’s military actions were of "concern to Taiwan, to us, and to our partners around the world." A joint U.S.-China deal to fight climate change struck by Xi and then-President Barack Obama in November of 2014 has frequently been hailed as a turning point that led to the breakthrough Paris agreement in which nearly every nation in the world pledged to try to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases. Then seven years later during climate talks in Glasgow, another U.S.-China deal helped smooth over bumps to another international climate deal.
In an intriguing essay published in The Wall Street Journal by Hal Brands and Michael Beckley, adapted from their new book, Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China, they write, "with its global power at a peak and domestic problems mounting, China is likelier than ever before to make good on its threats."
The Coming War Over Taiwan (The Wall Street Journal)
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Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: The U.S. is running out of time to prevent a cataclysmic war in the Western Pacific. While the world has been focused on Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, Xi Jinping appears to be preparing for an even more consequential onslaught against Taiwan. Mr. Xi’s China is fueled by a dangerous mix of strength and weakness: Faced with profound economic, demographic and strategic problems, it will be tempted to use its burgeoning military power to transform the existing order while it still has the opportunity. This peaking-power syndrome—the tendency for rising states to become more aggressive as they become more fearful of impending decline—has caused some of the bloodiest wars in history. Unless the U.S. and its allies act quickly, it could trigger a conflict that would make the war in Ukraine look minor by comparison. Senior U.S. officials warn that China might attack Taiwan in the next half-decade, possibly even in the next 18 months. From ancient times to the present, once-rising powers have taken up arms when their fortunes faded, their enemies multiplied, and they felt they had to lunge for glory or lose their chance forever.
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