Wondering how the Voice of America was presenting the Pelosi visit to its Chinese audience, I found this article among others. If you would like to scan the other articles, you can click through to them via Google Translate. Below I have put links to some reporting and commentaries surrounding Speaker Pelosi’s anticipated visit to Taiwan from the Taiwan press along with a link to the Google Translate machine translation of those articles.
Is this Visit Safe? For Taiwan, Mainland Pressure, Constricting its Foreign Links so Taiwan Pushes Back
Speaker Pelosi will not be an uninvited guest. I imagine that Speaker Pelosi got an invitation from the popularly elected government of Taiwan (Taiwan authorities if you wish). That government, popularly elected by the people of Taiwan, certainly must have, as is their duty, to considered the decision to invite Speaker Pelosi in the light of its possible effects on Taiwan’s political political and economic security.
I imagine that part of that consideration included the experience that the PRC (historically the rebel regime in a frozen conflict with its predecessor on the China mainland, the Republic of China, which retreated to Taiwan if you wish) has for many years been striving to reduce Taiwan’s international ties and associations, both official and unofficial. The PRC is always trying to expand the international understanding of the scope of applicability of what the PRC calls the One China Principle (the US has a one China Policy, not a one China principle) in order to establish a “principled position” for objecting to Taiwan’s international links. Taiwan deals with this incessantly. Conceding ground to the PRC on what is its acceptable international space pushes it further down the road to strangulation, I can imagine the popularly elected government of Taiwan supposing.
Many countries, because of China’s growing economic heft and political assertiveness over the past few decades and with the expectation (perhaps) that PRC power will continue to grow at the current pace, have been more accommodating to PRC protests. If they conceded, China takes that ground and makes it the new threshold for acceptable — albeit grumpily — links with Taiwan as it tries to make Taiwan’s international space ever more constricted.
I would observe that no one knows the future and that straight -line extrapolations on national power relative to other states are very uncertain albeit convenient and very easy to do. I am reminded of this by Paul French’s article in Foreign Policy much more nuanced speculations about the future — “A Shrinking China Can’t Overtake America”.
So it seems to be that the popularly elected government of Taiwan decided that “Nancy Pelosi going to Taiwan right now makes Taiwan safer.”
I think this is a reasonable guess about a Taiwan view as to whether this trip makes Taiwan safer. From the U.S. side, Speaker Pelosi has a natural interest in Taiwan because of the Taiwan Relations Act and Congress is a co-equal branch of the US government, inconvenient as that can be at times for the Executive. China now of course also has political tensions, economic problems and a jingoist trend that sounds familiar ”Make China Great Again” would be a nice slogan for General Secretary Xi. Maybe he already has that slogan! It wouldn’t be such a bad translation for 中华民族伟大复兴 ‘the glorious renaissance of the Zhonghua nation’.
Beyond Safe and Unsafe: National Security Interests and National Interests Inevitably Differ Even for Closely Aligned States — US and Taiwan Judgements on What is “Safe” May Differ
What strikes me when I hear “safe for Taiwan” is that it does not get to the heart of things. Taiwan has its own historical experience, politics, and way of thinking about ‘what is safe’ because it has for decades been seeking safety by pushing back against PRC efforts to constrict its international space and contacts. Every state (or in fact autonomous political entity if you like) has its own view of its security and interests; the interests of even closely aligned states will differ.
So this reduces to national security and national interest calculations.
So I think it is not surprising when the answer to the question “what is safe for Taiwan” might get a different response from people in Taiwan and people in the USA.
Not that one side is right and the other is wrong in their estimate of ‘what is safe for Taiwan’. Both may well be right, they just live in different situations and see things through the lenses of different national (if I may use the word for Taiwan; that is begging the question!) security calculations and national interests.
That divergence in perception of security and interests is what we need to focus on; “safety for Taiwan” needs to be put into context and considered from various perspectives. I remember President George W. Bush seemed to me to be pushing back on Taiwan/ROC’s then-President Chen Shuibian when President Chen seemed to be taking a more confrontational (leaning towards independence) stance towards the PRC (don’t remember the details).
The last decade of General Secretary Xi Jinping has seen a more confrontational approach in foreign policy and much increased repression within China; Hong Kong’s once-promised autonomy for another two decades or so, has been brutally erased. The U.S. One China policy, as I understand it, calls on both sides to reach a peaceful agreement to resolve their 70-years-and-counting frozen civil war, while Taiwan looks forward to at least total autonomy for an indefinite period.
The real question here is to what extent the national security perspectives and interests of Taiwan and the USA diverge.
One might argue that now is not the time for a high-level visit — the pressure in China’s ever high pressure political pressure cooker is peaking in the months before General Secretary Xi Jinping gets his third term. Putting things off is easy. If not now, when? Does the wolf warrior stuff need a push back right now? Though PRC wild talk is just their domestic crazies. Will it be easier later or will we find more reasons/rationales to keep delaying indefinitely? Yet again, China’s domestic jingoists who might accuse a Chinese leader of not being tough enough are a big worry for a Chinese leader [the PRC jingoism propaganda machine can create an atmosphere in which Chinese leaders find it hard to work for an accomodation.
A long way of saying that the elected Taiwan government’s calculation of what is safe might well be different from that of people in the US and that considering possible divergence of US and Taiwan national security concerns and interests is a more useful question to pose than the objectively-seeming question “is this safe for Taiwan”. Not just a one-off question. That question is necessarily embedded in what has been learned from historical experience and expectations of consequences.
No Easy Answers So I’ll Stop Here!
Read longtime U.S. Intelligence Officer Carl Ford on Substack
With so much talk about Taiwan I thought it time to share my near term (out 5-10 years) and long-term predictions (10-15 years) of China’s possible actions regarding the democratic island nation. Despite all the headlines and worry about China’s take aways from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Nancy Pelosi’s expected visit, my bottom-line assessment remains the same — rather optimistic.
[Read the rest of this article at Carl Ford’s Substack.
Have PRC Reprisals Begun?
- United Daily News opinion piece: “Background to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is the political struggle between the US and China under the Current Prisoner’s Dilemma” 裴洛西訪台的背後，是美中當下囚徒困境下的政治角力
- China Times （Taiwan） “Pelosi Asked if Invitation Had Been Withdrawn, Insisted on Visiting Taiwan“, 裴洛西質疑我撤邀 仍堅持訪台
Facebook Posting from Taiwan: Peiruoxi, an apparent incarnation of the Queen Mother of the West of Chinese legend visits Taiwan!
Speaker Pelosi’s visit does seem to be appreciated in Taiwan. One Facebook posting depicted her as a benevolent goddess. Taiwan has been pushing back on PRC efforts to constrict its international contacts for decades and so the current flurry over the Pelosi visit is not very exciting in Taiwan. They have been immersed in it for what seems ages — their frozen civil war is now over 70 years old.
Nancy Pelosi Arrives in Taiwan: Hsiao Ying-dang Text, Lu Wen-yuan Photo
Last night, thousands of cameras were recording this special moment, and this photo of the moment before Pelosi’s plane landed in front of Songshan Airport was the most touching.
The alleyway of Songshan Airport facing Binjiang Street has been the place where Taipei people have watched planes land for decades, with men and women riding in on motorcycles, and fathers standing high up and holding their daughters on their shoulders, waiting for the sense of proximity and deafness that comes with each big plane before it lands, with dozens of people reaching so high that they feel they can touch the belly of the plane and then screaming with a loud bang.
With hundreds of thousands of people around the world following the flight path, and also under the threat of intimidation and force from the big country across the strait, the plane carrying the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives landed in Taipei at 10:40 last night, and more people gathered at this end of the runway on Binjiang Street at Songshan Airport, roaring louder and louder at the roar, greeting the guests with joy and innocence and bravery without fear.Taiwan artist Hsiao Ying-dang on Facebook
Below is a DeepL Chinese – English machine translation which I have reviewed for accuracy.
According to Reports Pelosi will Visit Taiwan: Is a Military Showdown in the Taiwan Strait Imminent?
August 2, 2022
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not include Taiwan in her announced Asia itinerary, but several Western media outlets have disclosed that Pelosi will arrive in Taiwan on Aug. 2. For days, China has been issuing military threats in response. Some military experts believe Xi will not rashly attack Taiwan before the 20th National Congress, but others have advised the U.S. and Taiwan governments to be militarily prepared for a possible Chinese attack on Pelosi and Taiwan.
U.S. media outlets The Wall Street Journal and CNN revealed on Monday (Aug. 1) that Pelosi, who is visiting Asia, has confirmed that she will travel to Taiwan. The Financial Times reported that Pelosi is expected to meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Jan. 1 that the U.S. Congress is an independent and equal branch of government and that the decision on whether to visit Taiwan is up to Pelosi, and that there have been previous visits to Taiwan by the speaker of the U.S. Congress and many members of Congress.
“If the Speaker decides to visit Taiwan and China tries to create some kind of crisis or heighten tensions, Beijing is going to be fully responsible.” He said, “If the speaker decides to visit, we expect them to act responsibly and not engage in any escalation next.”
Will the Chinese Communist Party assassinate Pelosi?
China’s PLA Eastern Theater released a video on Monday titled “Stand by, Fight on Command,” featuring images of navy, army and air force operations and oaths, with the slogan “Bury all incoming enemies and march toward a joint victory over war.
Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the official Chinese media Global Times, who previously threatened to shoot down Pelosi’s plane on her visit to Taiwan, tweeted on Monday, “Let her go to Taiwan, but (she should pray) before she leaves: wish herself a safe journey and hope she will not be defined by history as a sinner who started a spiral of escalation that would turn military friction into a large-scale war in the Taiwan Strait. “
Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the U.S. Center for International Assessment and Strategy, told Voice of America that “China wants the world and all Americans to believe that they have the right to murder Pelosi, the third-ranked successor to the U.S. president, and that alone would be enough of an act of war.”
“It is extremely important that the U.S. and Taiwanese governments be prepared to respond militarily to China’s attempt to assassinate Pelosi. The fact that China has threatened to kill Pelosi justifies the imposition of U.S. sanctions on China, and (the U.S. should) deport students from China, stop all flights from China to the U.S., and work with U.S. allies, particularly in Japan and Europe, to implement progressive economic sanctions to isolate the Chinese economy.” Fisher said.
He called out, “No matter what the world does, China will attack the free people of Taiwan. China cannot do that. The Chinese must understand that a war against Taiwan is a declaration of war against the entire free world, and the free world will respond.”
Fisher believes it is also possible that China could attempt to attack the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea with anti-ship ballistic missiles, but the current U.S. Reagan carrier strike group east of the Bass Strait would not be sufficient deterrence.
“China has two types of long-range ballistic missiles that could be used for this mission, and launching 20, 30, 40 of these missiles would sink aircraft carriers. I don’t think the Chinese would be intimidated by a U.S. carrier battle group in the South China Sea. Right now they might be deterred by 50 F-22s in Okinawa and another 150 fighters stationed at other Japanese bases. But I’m sorry to say that one aircraft carrier is not up to the job.” He said.
Timothy Heath, a senior researcher on defense issues at the RAND Corporation, told Voice of America via email that Pelosi’s trip could indeed trigger a military crisis, “Taiwan rejects reunification with China. Beijing’s efforts to win Taiwan through economic incentives and political coercion have completely failed. Their only option now is military intimidation, but that will only push Taiwan further into the embrace of the U.S. .”
He Tianmu believes that while it is highly unlikely that China will attack Taiwan or U.S. aircraft and personnel by force, it may impose various diplomatic and economic penalties on the United States, and PLA aircraft may conduct dangerous military maneuvers to stop Pelosi’s visit by conducting aggressive military demonstrations near Taiwan.
Will Xi Jinping risks the Death of the Party and the State by attacking Taiwan?
However, Oriana Skylar Mastro, a researcher specializing in Chinese military and security policy at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, argues that the time is not yet ripe for a Chinese attack on Taiwan by force. “First of all, [a Chinese attack on Taiwan] would not be a reaction to U.S. behavior. China does not want to make last minute plans. They have had to consider a possible U.S. intervention from the beginning. They will plan to wage this war at the time and place that is most advantageous to China.”
Mei Huilin noted, “Second, Xi Jinping needs to consolidate control and definitely does not want to do this before the 20th Congress. And then after the 20th Congress, China may need more years of rehearsal. I think the Chinese attack on Taiwan will be a few years from now.”
Robert Ross, a fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbanks Center for Chinese Studies and professor of political science at Boston College, agrees that China currently lacks the capability to successfully conduct an amphibious operation and occupy Taiwan, and can only create a crisis rather than a war, “I think China is trying to create a crisis that is designed to send a signal to the United States and Taiwan: you are risking war, and you need to think twice about Taiwan policy and the trajectory of U.S.-Taiwan relations.”
Joseph Bosco, former director of China affairs for the U.S. Department of Defense, told Voice of America that if China attacked Pelosi’s plane or acted otherwise out of control, it would trigger an all-out, real war between the U.S. and China and would be devastating to Xi Jinping and even to the survival of the Communist Party.
“(If the situation in the Taiwan Strait) escalates out of control, it would mean the end of China’s economic recovery, possibly the end of Xi Jinping’s regime, and the end of the entire Chinese Communist Party. It would be a real disaster for China if they make any aggressive act that leads to an out-of-control escalation. I hope these guys who are speaking irresponsibly will be restrained and be told to keep quiet by Beijing. They should allow the U.S. and Taiwan have this diplomatic meeting, let it go peacefully and then it will be business as usual.” Bosco said.
To prevent a crisis in the Taiwan Strait from erupting and worsening, Fischer suggested that the United States urgently needs to send hundreds or even thousands of missiles, ammunition, guns and supplies to Taiwan to ensure it can fight for months, as well as deploy troops to Japan and get immediate consent from Japan and South Korea to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.
“If the United States takes these steps, we can avoid (war) and convince Xi Jinping that he will lose any war he tries to start in Northeast Asia or the Taiwan Strait.” Fischer said.
(Voice of America correspondent Yi Lin contributed to this article.)
Face to Face Forum
Voice of America does not censor comments based on ideological or political views. However, all comments should follow the following site guidelines: 1. Comment as individual readers on Voice of America stories and topics covered by the stories. 2. Do not distribute messages in reader discussion forums that are purely promotional or propaganda, and do not heavily reprint articles from other media and websites. 3. Do not use any foul or profane language, personal attacks, or insults of any race or ethnicity. 4. No incitement to violence. 5. Please speak in Chinese or English. For other languages, please visit Voice of America’s website in other languages.
[Translation of comments which may come from anywhere in the world and not necessarily from people within China who might use a VPN to reach the VOA website.]
Do American hooligans think they don’t shoot nukes? You want to deploy nuclear weapons to Asia? If you really want 200 nukes like this, you American hooligans will destroy the country!
Like – Reply – 2 – 1h
In order to avoid war, people from all sides are calling on Beijing not to overreact. Why not just call on Pelosi not to go to Taiwan and maintain the status quo?
The United States of America, a liberal democracy, is a bitch and a pawn.
Like – Reply – 6 – 45m
The U.S. empire is so bent on going its own way, sooner or later both parties will collapse
Like – Reply – 31m
What are these idiots talking about? Tell China to stop? Why not tell the US not to come to Taiwan, China and create a second Ukraine? Or is it your wild father?
Like – Reply – 1 – 28m
What makes these American idiots think they are on the high ground? Is it because your father is Japanese?
Like – Reply – 1 – 26m
Steven etc. hate the si🖐🏻 full body of the national maggot scum
Like – Reply – 1 – 24m
To the life of the CCP the CCP wouldn’t dare to hit Pelosi’s plane, otherwise it would really take the life of the CCP.
Like – Reply – 1 – 16m
The Chinese Communist Party will not dare to hit Pelosi’s plane or it will really kill the Chinese Communist Party.
Like – Reply – 10m
That Stevie week bitch slave maggot si🖐🏻 whole body
Like – Reply – 1 – 6m
Not just that one but there really aren’t that many, I counted no more than five
Gustav von Adler.
Zedong Mao (Frea Mao) is suspected to be a person.
So poor, no one can afford to go online in such a free place
Reply – 1m
The concept of global free country status is good, at first glance I thought it was a global country, but in fact, what? I think it’s a good idea to look at it as a global country.
Like – Reply – 5m
This is a disgusting article, obviously written by the dogs of the United States to give themselves more confidence, what does the United States represent? How powerful is it? Just fight and see what can be left after the ebb! Taiwan is China’s territory, when to fight is freedom, don’t interfere with other people’s freedom with your freedom slogans! Beep again and I’ll beat you up together!
然而，斯坦福大学弗里曼·史波格利国际问题研究所(Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies)专门研究中国军队和安全政策的研究员梅惠琳(Oriana Skylar Mastro)则认为，中国武力攻台的时机目前还不成熟，“首先，（中国攻台）不会是对美国行为做出的反应。中国不想制定最后一分钟计划，不得不从一开始就考虑美国，他们将计划在对中国最有利的时间和地点发动这场战争。”
哈佛大学费正清中国研究中心研究员、波士顿学院（Boston College）政治学教授陆伯彬（Robert Ross）也认为，中国目前缺乏成功进行两栖作战并占领台湾的能力，仅能制造危机而非战争，“我认为中国在努力制造一场危机，目的是向美国和台湾发出信号：你们正冒着战争的危险，对于台湾政策和美台关系的轨迹需要三思而后行。”
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What are these idiots talking about? Tell China to stop? Why not tell the US not to come to Taiwan, China and create a second Ukraine? Is the US your mother’s lover? Or is it your wild father?
What makes these American idiots think they are on the high ground? Is it because your father is Japanese?
那个 斯蒂文周 贱奴 蛆虫 si🖐🏻全尸
Gustav von Adler，
Reply · 17m