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Biden unveils US military thoughts on Taiwan — Analysis

US president hints that Pentagon is opposed to Speaker Pelosi’s rumored Taipei visit

Briefly addressing rumors about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, US President Joe Biden suggested on Wednesday that the military was opposed to it. After two days of warnings by Beijing about the potential irreparable damage to Sino-American relations, Biden’s comments were a response.

“I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now. But I don’t know what the status of it is,” Biden told reporters when asked about Pelosi’s possible Taiwan trip. Biden spoke to reporters about Air Force One’s return from Massachusetts where he had announced climate-change executive actions. 

On Tuesday, multiple media outlets reported that Pelosi planned to travel to Taipei with a congressional delegation in August. This was after she cancelled her April trip due to Covid-19. Pelosi, an 82-year old Democrat, hasn’t confirmed the trip or denied it. Taipei’s government has also not officially confirmed the trip.

Pelosi would become the first American official to visit Taiwan as a high-ranking representative since Newt Gingrich, the Republican House Speaker in 1997.

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, said Wednesday that the US was committed to the “One China” policy. While in Washington’s eyes this means that Taiwan’s status remains unresolved, Beijing says it means Chinese sovereignty over the island, with reunification only a matter of time. Taiwan was once an island under the control of Japan. The Chinese nationalists took over Taiwan in 1949 when they lost the civil war with the Communist Party. 

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan would have a “grave impact” on Sino-American ties, violating the ‘One China’ policy and existing agreements between Washington and Beijing.

“If the US insists on going its own way, China will take firm and forceful measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US must bear all the consequences of the visit,” Zhao said.

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