‘Playing With Fire,’ Says China After Pelosi Lands in Taiwan

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Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese warplanes took to the skies and U.S. warships were on the move August 2  as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignored warnings from Beijing, the Biden administration, and peace activists by becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit Taiwan.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement insisting the congressional delegation’s trip to the island that most of the international community including the United States considers part of China “in no way contradicts” U.S. adherence to the “One China” policy, but rather “honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”

“Our visit is part of our broader trip to the Indo-Pacific—including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan—focused on mutual security, economic partnership, and democratic governance,” the speaker explained.

She added: “Our discussions with Taiwan leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and on promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs decried Pelosi’s visit, accusing the United States of “playing with fire” and warning that “those who play by fire will perish by it.”

In a statement, the ministry said:

China and the United States are two major countries. The right way for them to deal with each other lies only in mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, no-confrontation, and win-win cooperation. The Taiwan question is purely an internal affair of China, and no other country is entitled to act as a judge on the Taiwan question.

“China strongly urges the United States to stop playing the “Taiwan card” and using Taiwan to contain China. It should stop meddling in Taiwan and interfering in China’s internal affairs. It should stop supporting and conniving with “Taiwan independence” separatist forces in any form. It should stop its acts of saying one thing but doing the opposite on the Taiwan question. It should stop distorting, obscuring, and hollowing out the One China principle…” 

Anti-war voices also condemned the speaker’s trip.

Former Taiwanese foreign policy planning chief Dale Jieh Wen-chieh derided the notion that Pelosi was coming to the island to support the Taiwanese people.

“Pelosi’s Taiwan visit is unnecessary, dangerous, and utterly reckless at a time when the war in Ukraine continues,” Stop the War U.K. tweeted. “The U.S. is already in a proxy war with Russia and Pelosi’s visit could result in military retaliation and a dangerous cycle of escalation.”

The speaker’s visit prompted protests from the streets of Taipei to her hometown of San Francisco.

Julie Tang, a retired San Francisco Superior Court judge, accused Pelosi of supporting the military-industrial complex and “raising the temperature for war” during a Monday afternoon demonstration in the Northern California city.

“We have donated to her, we’ve supported her throughout these years, but we are so disappointed that what she’s doing is totally against the welfare and the well-being of the community—in particular Chinese Americans,” Tang told The San Francisco Standard.

“She does not listen to us,” Tang added. “She’s going with the flow, going with pushing U.S. hegemony to contain China. For what? We don’t get anything out of it.”

Biden administration officials had reportedly been working behind the scenes to convince Pelosi of the potential dangers of visiting Taiwan. Last month, President Joe Biden admitted that U.S. military officials believed “it’s not a good idea” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan right now.

Brett Wilkins / Commondreams.org