Still Another Serious U.S. Dispute With China
Author: Greg Valliere
March 30, 2023
A MEETING WITH McCARTHY would be the first on U.S. soil between a Taiwanese President and a U.S. official of his rank, and it has generated harsh rhetoric from Beijing, which declared that it could provoke a “serious confrontation.”
ANY SIGN OF CLOSER U.S.-Taiwan relations infuriates the Chinese, who reacted with massive military exercises after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island last August.
MS. TSAI IS TRANSITIONING through the U.S. now on her way to Central America, and reportedly has agreed to meet with McCarthy at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley on her return leg on April 5. McCarthy has invited a delegation of lawmakers to accompany him next week, including members of the House’s newly formed China Select Committee, which is expected to aggressively probe China’s spying, its treatment of dissidents and its lack of transparency on Covid.
U.S. OFFICIALS, WHO WERE UNSUCCESSFUL in preventing Pelosi from traveling to Taiwan, are concerned that a meeting between Tsai and McCarthy will unleash more military exercises and perhaps result in fresh trade friction between the two countries.
IN RESPONSE to Pelosi’s visit, China launched a retaliatory show of military force — firing of ballistic missiles over Taiwan, deploying warships into the Taiwan Strait and conducting a simulated blockade of the island. The risk would be a military miscalculaion that neither side wants.
THIS LATEST CRISIS has prompted national security adviser Jake Sullivan to call Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, to reinforce the idea that the trip is routine and should not provoke an overreaction, the Washington Post reports.
DEFENSE SECRETARY Lloyd Austin, speaking at a House committee hearing yesterday, said that he does not see an attack on Taiwan as imminent or inevitable. He said the Pentagon is working to get Taiwan weapons such as coastal-defense and anti-armor missiles and training for them to deter an invasion.
THIS LATEST CONTROVERSY COMES after Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow earlier this month, which apparently did not result in a commitment by Beijing to send weapons to Moscow. But that threat persists, and fears may grow during April over Chinese military aid to Russia.
MOST GEOPOLITICAL EXPERTS do not consider an invasion of Taiwan as likely any time soon; the military obstacles would be daunting, and an invasion would result in enormous economic sanctions against Beijing. But if Tsai meets with McCarthy, it will be still another reason to believe that U.S.-China trade relations could deteriorate even more.
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