‘Playing with Fire:’ China on Pelosi in Taiwan

The House speaker’s visit also prompted protests from the streets of Taipei to her hometown of San Francisco.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. (Max12Max, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Chinese warplanes took to the skies and U.S. warships were on the move Tuesday as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignored warnings from Beijing, the Biden administration and peace activists by becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit Taiwan.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement insisting the congressional delegation’s trip to the island that most of the international community including the United States considers part of China “in no way contradicts” U.S. adherence to the “One China” policy, but rather “honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”

“Our visit is part of our broader trip to the Indo-Pacific — including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan — focused on mutual security, economic partnership, and democratic governance,” the speaker explained.

She added: “Our discussions with Taiwan leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs decried Pelosi’s visit, accusing the United States of “playing with fire” and warning that “those who play by fire will perish by it.”

In a statement, the ministry said:

“China and the United States are two major countries. The right way for them to deal with each other lies only in mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, no-confrontation, and win-win cooperation. The Taiwan question is purely an internal affair of China, and no other country is entitled to act as a judge on the Taiwan question.

China strongly urges the United States to stop playing the ‘Taiwan card’ and using Taiwan to contain China. It should stop meddling on Taiwan and interfering in China’s internal affairs. It should stop supporting and conniving at ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces in any form. It should stop its acts of saying one thing but doing the opposite on the Taiwan question. It should stop distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the One China principle. It must take credible actions to observe strictly the One China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, deliver on the ‘five noes’ commitment made by the U.S. leadership (i.e. not seek a ‘new Cold War’; not seek to change China’s system; the revitalization of its alliances is not against China; not support ‘Taiwan independence’; not look for conflict with China), and not go further down the wrong and dangerous path.”

Anti-war voices also condemned the speaker’s trip.

“Pelosi’s Taiwan visit is unnecessary, dangerous, and utterly reckless at a time when the war in Ukraine continues,” Stop the War U.K. tweeted. “The U.S. is already in a proxy war with Russia and Pelosi’s visit could result in military retaliation and a dangerous cycle of escalation.”

Former Taiwanese foreign policy planning chief Dale Jieh Wen-chieh derided the notion that Pelosi was coming to the island to support the Taiwanese people.

“Support your ass,” he said during a Taiwanese television interview, adding with a reference to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army: “You want to support us to fight against the PLA?”

“You Yankees… want us to buy weapons from you,” Jieh added. “Are you here to support Taiwan or to provoke a war? What the hell are you doing here, Pelosi? The relationship between the mainland and Taiwan is already very tense. Supporting Taiwan? We don’t need your support!”

On Monday night, Taipei 101, the Taiwanese capital’s tallest building and iconic landmark, displayed illuminated messages welcoming Pelosi and thanking her for visiting. 

The speaker’s visit also prompted protests from the streets of Taipei to her hometown of San Francisco.

Julie Tang, a retired San Francisco Superior Court judge, accused Pelosi of supporting the military-industrial complex and “raising the temperature for war” during a Monday afternoon demonstration in the Northern California city.

“We have donated to her, we’ve supported her throughout these years, but we are so disappointed that what she’s doing is totally against the welfare and the well-being of the community — in particular Chinese Americans,” Tang told The San Francisco Standard.

“She does not listen to us,” Tang added. “She’s going with the flow, going with pushing U.S. hegemony to contain China. For what? We don’t get anything out of it.”

Biden administration officials had reportedly been working behind the scenes to convince Pelosi of the potential dangers of visiting Taiwan. Last month, President Joe Biden admitted that U.S. military officials believed “it’s not a good idea” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan right now.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

13 comments for “‘Playing with Fire:’ China on Pelosi in Taiwan

  1. Marie-France Germain
    August 4, 2022 at 12:11

    I have heard last night that Pelosi’s trip cost the American taxpayers $90 million dollars. Does anyone think it was good value for the buck?

  2. Tedder
    August 3, 2022 at 15:56

    Michael Hudson explains the sense behind, “the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.” In essence, a ‘democracy’ is best seen as an oligarchy, and an ‘autocracy’ is best seen as any government strong enough to stand up to an oligarchy.
    When I think of the US Navy carrier group heading to Taiwan, I wonder if they just want to test the theory that one Chinese supersonic missile would sink the Ronald Reagan, or would it take two or three.

  3. August 3, 2022 at 15:32

    I hope my hard-earned tax dollars didn’t pay for this trip as Pelosi’s worth $120 million or more, and certainly capable of paying for it herself: Though, I doubt it!

  4. Robert Emmett
    August 3, 2022 at 14:11

    Anybody else get the feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot more of this “… as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy”?

  5. Laura
    August 3, 2022 at 13:21

    Just imagine what the US would do if China came into this hemisphere to discuss peace and security with Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, et al. All hell would break loose. One day more people in the west will see the US for what it is, the most militarily aggressive nation on the planet.

    • marvinhanson
      August 4, 2022 at 01:28

      Since Ted Roosevelt , the USA became a Great Power then an empire that gives away money to have 800 military bases global. Now as the USA sinks under a 30 trillion Federal debt , and many of its cities/ counties are near bankruptcy, the rise of the new China empire will test the USA as never before. Americans are entering a new era of more instability ; hopefully the Taiwan China struggle can remain peaceful but it if flares, it makes the Russo Ukraina war a small neighborhood squabble.

    • J Anthony
      August 4, 2022 at 04:54

      And, of course, the world’s worst hypocrites.

    August 3, 2022 at 06:13

    Many are they who are much more learned and literate than I, they should be screaming not just for Pelosis’ head but the heads of both political parties that hold Congressional positions they were elected to.
    This act in my eyes is way outside her powers of office, and may cross the lines of treason and at the least lead to impeachment.
    Dereliction of duty, and malfeasance while in office.
    I do believe in democratic and representative government and its’ citizensno matter what form(s) the people as a commons freely choose, that is their RIGHT,again, no matter the form.
    But saying that wanted a well informed public, and that informed public is
    sorely lacking in US, and also lacking a particiion in government.
    Less than a third of citizens think voting every 2 and 4 years on personality as participation, “IT is not, a vote is but a statement of approval of our present political system.
    Issue votes are almost all for Special interest being granted Rights privileges for one group or that limits Freedom of one personality over the Rights of others
    But it is personal choice of political systems, is theirs to have and no nation should interfere with other nations sovereign peoples affairs.

  7. Realist
    August 3, 2022 at 02:36

    “She’s going with the flow, going with pushing U.S. hegemony to contain China. For what? We don’t get anything out of it.”

    But the oligarchy’s military industrial complex does, it gets it all.

    And that says it all!

  8. Mary Caldwell
    August 2, 2022 at 19:32

    Perhaps we should view this as a sales trip……nothing more !

    After all we have a new drone, really spectacular……its a missile of sorts, within seconds of hitting its target……blades come out and slice the intended target to death. Ayman al-Zawahiri its latest victim.

    The tool that has actually taken the job of the romantic (?) assassin .

    Nancy Pelosi a sales rep. for the MIC.

    Of course democracy will be the excuse, the ever present “famine of truth” as mentioned in Caitlin Johnstone’s column today.

    How pathetic and needy we have become.

  9. Adam Gorelick
    August 2, 2022 at 16:40

    “Those who play by fire will perish by it.” Putin said essentially the same thing for years. But The United States at this point is blind drunk on it’s own hubris, avarice and what appears to be unconscious self-destructiveness born of a deep nihilism. The inertia of what Freud called the death drive infects the Western world, propelling us into an abyss. And it seems an antediluvian like Pelosi, who’s held a powerful and renumerative position for decades, may simply not care about the potentially disastrous consequences of her actions.

    • Daniel
      August 3, 2022 at 11:39

      Ha ha, “antediluvian.” Had to look that up. And why would Pelosi care – about anyone other than herself, I mean? Adding a few more millions to her family fortune before she dies and killing off as many plebs as possible is all she cares about.

      The evil has never been as naked.

  10. Raymond Knowles
    August 2, 2022 at 16:20

    Who is Pelosi kidding? She knows that the Republicans are likely to win in November. This trip is her last one on the taxpayer’s dollar and she’s taking as much as she can while she still can. How does she reconcile that with her constant concern for the “Working men and women of America.”? And let’s not forget her concern for the poor and the disadvantage.

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