In a two-hour-long phone call between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Xi made it crystal clear that a response will be mounted should Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit Taiwan on her recently-announced trip to Asia.
Biden has said that as she is of the legislative branch, he does not have the power to stop her from going, which Beijing has a hard time believing.
Furthermore, the White House has said they fear a cross-strait crisis might begin to simmer should Pelosi travel there, and they plan even to deploy military forces—potentially an aircraft carrier group to the region, in that case.
No one from Pelosi’s office, nor the Madame Speaker herself will say if Taiwan will be a stop on her Asia trip scheduled to depart today and arrive in South Korea, and Japan.
Pelosi has invited senior lawmakers to join her including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, (D – NY), and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, (D – CA) who led a delegation of lawmakers to Taiwan last year.
But why in a call between the arguably two most powerful men on the planet should they be talking about a U.S. congresswoman visiting Taiwan?
Pure saber rattling, as it’s called, has characterized the build-up to the trip, including the former editor of a Chinese state news outlet writing “The [Chinese] Air Force will surely make her visit a disgrace to herself and to the US,” while Xi told Biden in the readout of their recent phone call: “Those who play with fire will perish by it It is hoped that the U.S. will be clear-eyed about this”.
U.S. lawmakers rallied by issuing a letter of support for Pelosi’s trip, urging her to show support for the island nation which the modern U.S. legislature sees as independent, but which China considers part of itself.
But in Pelosi the Chinese may be mistaking a wolf in sheep’s clothing for a sheep in Sunday clothes.
Pelosi is about three months away from being the speaker of a house strongly stacked against her. Biden has a 37% approval rating—nearly a record low, as the country suffers from a myriad of problems that have scared the Democrats into believing they will lose one if not two of the chambers of Congress.
While some reports, from Vox, New York Times, Bloomberg, and others are noting new polling data showing that the wipeout won’t be as significant as earlier expectations, it’s overwhelmingly likely that even if Democrats hold onto the seats they have, the Republicans won’t lose any seats.
The odds are that Pelosi is soon going to have far less sway during a time which the Chinese will certainly perceive as being even worse financially speaking for the U.S., and should therefore have little to fear about the whole mess. WaL
PICTURED ABOVE: Pelosi has also made stops in other high-tension areas recently, pictured here in Ukraine. PC: manhhai CC 3.0.