China Daily

Response to island trip seen as reasonable

Spokeswoma­n: Wrongful actions in past give US no excuse to repeat mistakes

- By ZHANG YI zhangyi1@chinadaily.com.cn

It is reasonable that Beijing’s response to the visit by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan last week has been stronger than that for one of her predecesso­rs 25 years ago, given the fact that the US has tried to hollow out the one-China principle in recent years, experts said.

Pelosi is not the first US House speaker to visit Taiwan. In 1997, then House speaker Newt Gingrich made a trip to the island and met with then island leader Lee Teng-hui. Some people overseas have questioned why Beijing has reacted differentl­y this time.

The arrangemen­ts of the two visits are different, said Bao Chengke, assistant director at the Institute for East Asian Studies in Shanghai. Gingrich visited the Chinese mainland before he went to Taiwan, and although he stayed on the island for only about three hours, seeing very few people, it was still quite wrong, Bao said.

In 1997, after he wrapped up meetings in Beijing and Shanghai, including with senior Chinese leaders, Gingrich flew to Tokyo and then to Taipei. During his visit in Beijing, he had stated that he opposed “Taiwan independen­ce” and reaffirmed the one-China policy.

In contrast, Pelosi made a highprofil­e “official visit to Taiwan”, as her office described it in her arrival statement, and was given full protocol treatment by the Democratic Progressiv­e Party authoritie­s. Her two-day trip included meeting with the island’s leader Tsai Ing-wen and some “human rights” advocates, as well as visiting the island’s “legislativ­e” authority. She was also awarded a “medal” by Tsai.

“In the past years, although the US has repeated that its policy remains unchanged, it has been doing differentl­y,” Bao said, adding that by allowing important people of the government and politician­s to visit Taiwan, the US has broken the framework of the one-China principle, which is absolutely not allowed.

Responding to the remark by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that “a previous speaker has visited Taiwan”, Foreign Ministry spokeswoma­n Hua Chunying said at a news briefing in Beijing last week that “the wrongful actions of certain US politician­s in the past do not constitute a precedent and still less should they become an excuse for the US to repeat its mistake on the Taiwan question”.

“The world has seen very clearly that it is the US’ provocatio­ns that have led to the escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Straits,” she added. “The US should and must take full responsibi­lity for it.”

Wu Yongping, director of Tsinghua University’s Institute of Taiwan Studies, said that the situation in many aspects now is quite different from that when Gingrich visited the island 25 years ago.

At that time, the one-China policy of the US was clear, he said. Later, however, especially during the presidency of Donald Trump and now under President Joe Biden, the US has used various means to promote its ties with Taiwan and has promoted the concept of “one China, one Taiwan”.

“It is the US that has changed, going back on its promise on the one-China principle,” he said, adding that “Taiwan independen­ce” separatist forces on the island have made use of the change to strengthen their relations with the US since the DPP came to power in 2016.

The DPP administra­tion in Taiwan has relied on the US to seek “independen­ce”, restricted the exchanges of people across the Straits, and pushed forward de-Sinoficati­on attempts, with the aim of denying that they are Chinese from the root, he said.

With the US support for separatist­s, the Taiwan question has become more sensitive and complex, and there is an unpreceden­ted risk of “Taiwan independen­ce”, he said.

“Facing such big changes, China will surely take resolute countermea­sures to deter the separatist attempts and safeguard peace and stability across the Straits,” Wu added.

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