Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on July 29, 2022 in Washington (AFP / SAUL LOEB)
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who began an Asian tour in Singapore on Monday, “has the right to visit Taiwan”, estimates the White House, which according to China “seems to be positioning itself” for a display of military force around this island it claimed.
Ms. continued. Pelosi has been vague about a stopover in Taiwan that could poison the already tense relationship between Beijing and Washington, but several Taiwanese and foreign media confirmed the trip on Monday, citing unidentified origins. The Financial Times also wrote that he will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on Wednesday.
A car displaying the American flag arrives at the entrance of the Istana presidential palace on August 1, 2022 in Singapore (AFP / Roslan RAHMAN)
Mrs. Pelosi “has the right to visit Taiwan”, hammered Monday John Kirby, the spokesman of the White House for strategic questions, and this is the day that this high official, second in line of succession to the American president, was there in Singapore.
“There is no reason for Beijing to make this visit, which does not derogate from the long-standing American doctrine, a kind of crisis,” he added, against a backdrop of increasing American tensions. – Chinese follow reports that Ms Pelosi may go to Taiwan.
China “seems to be positioning itself to potentially take more steps in the coming days,” Kirby continued.
– China warnings –
“If the Speaker of the House of Representatives […] travel to Taiwan, China will definitely take firm and strong measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese foreign affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian warned earlier.
China’s military “will not sit idle”, he stressed.
On Monday, to support its message, the Chinese military broadcast a martial-tone video online, showing soldiers shouting that they are ready for combat, fighters flying, paratroopers jumping from in a plane or rain missiles that destroy different targets.
“Any enemy who dares to invade us will be buried here”, specifies a very short text that accompanies these images, which does not clearly refer to Taiwan or Nancy Pelosi.
In this context, in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on the latter to work for “stable” relations with Beijing.
Pelosi announced on Sunday that she was leading “a congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region to reaffirm America’s unwavering commitment to its allies and friends in the region.”
“In Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, we will hold high-level meetings to discuss how we can promote our common values and interests,” he added, without mentioning Taiwan in his itinerary. .
Delegations of American officials regularly travel to the island to express their support. But a visit by Ms Pelosi is unprecedented since her predecessor Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 1, 2022 in Hong Kong (POOL / Selim CHTAYTI)
The United States practices with regard to Taiwan a so-called “strategic ambiguity” diplomacy, which consists of recognizing only one Chinese government, that of Beijing, while continuing to provide decisive support to Taipei but in refrain from saying whether they will defend it or not. military territory in case of invasion.
– Military maneuvers –
A trip to Taiwan by Ms. Pelosi, a central figure in Joe Biden’s Democratic majority, in any case complicates the task of American diplomacy, which tries not to damage relations with China.
Last week, in a telephone conversation with the American president, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping called on the United States not to “play with fire”.
On Monday, 4,000 American and Indonesian soldiers began large-scale military maneuvers, but Washington assured that they were not targeting any country.
Taiwan’s military meanwhile held its largest annual military exercise last week, which included mock attacks by China.
Taiwanese army drills near the Suao naval port on July 26, 2022 in Yilan (AFP/Sam Yeh)
Last Saturday, in response, China organized a “live ammunition” military exercise in the Taiwan Strait – very close to the Chinese coast, however.
In Taiwan, opinions are divided over the possibility of Ms Pelosi’s visit, but senior figures from the ruling party and the opposition say the island should not give in to Chinese pressure.