The Chinese Communist Party changed course Thursday after a week of increasingly belligerent threats to use military force against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) if she dares to visit Taiwan in August, using its state media organs to convince President Joe Biden that Pelosi’s trip would cause needless political hassles for the Democrat party.
China’s state-run Global Times advised Pelosi and Biden to resist “pressure” from Republicans, as “Chinese experts” confidently predicted that “if the U.S. eventually let the partisan struggle and internal politics hijack its strategic decision-making, it would definitely bring a new crisis to the Taiwan Straits.”
The Global Times was referring to Republican lawmakers and former Trump administration officials urging Pelosi to visit the sovereign nation of Taiwan as a demonstration of support for the Taiwanese people and resistance against the tyranny in Beijing, which has no business dictating the travel plans of American officials. Rumors citing unnamed sources have been suggesting that Pelosi is planning a trip to the island nation this summer, but Pelosi’s office has refused to confirm or deny the reports. On Wednesday, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) confirmed to Breitbart News that Pelosi was planning a visit.
Prominent among those Republicans seeking to join Pelosi’s visit is former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom the Chinese Communist Party absolutely loathes for his stalwart support of Taiwan. Chinese propagandists derided Pompeo as a “lunatic” in March when he called on the Biden administration to extend formal diplomatic recognition to Taiwan during his own visit to the island.
On Monday, Pompeo offered to accompany Pelosi on her trip, noting he is “banned in China, but not freedom-loving Taiwan.” The Global Times sneeringly dismissed Pompeo as a “marginal figure” who was merely “fanning the flames” of controversy to back his own political comeback in the 2024 presidential election.
As the Global Times eventually got around to observing, there are plenty of congressional Democrats who are also publicly urging Pelosi to continue with her trip to Taiwan, including House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), a member of Speaker Pelosi’s leadership team.
“Nobody should not go someplace because the Chinese government – which is guilty of genocide – is speaking in threatening terms,” McGovern said this week.
The Global Times confusingly claimed Republicans also want Pelosi to cancel her trip because they could claim “Democrats are being too weak and dare not challenge China,” as if that were an issue the GOP desperately needs to introduce into the midterm elections to surf the impending “red wave” to victory.
After clumsily fooling around with politics in a republic it does not understand – Chinese Communist political analysis mostly consists of repeating arguments and controversies plucked from Twitter feeds of American media corporations – the Global Times went back to threats of force, assuring Democrats that Pelosi’s visit would provoke a military confrontation that would end in political disaster for them.
The Global Times and its “Chinese experts” pontificated:
China is telling the U.S. loud and clear where the bilateral “guardrails” are, and the U.S. should keep its promise of not supporting Taiwan secessionism. If Washington doesn’t keep the bilateral ties away from the edge but instead, insists on crashing against the “guardrails,” the consequence will definitely be a deadly disaster.
“Republicans’ encouragements to Pelosi are more like setting a trap than real approval. If Pelosi eventually goes to the island and causes a military crisis that the U.S. can’t handle, Republicans can still criticize the Biden administration for the failure to handle a crisis,” one of those anonymous “experts” said.
Other Global Times correspondents suggested Pelosi underestimated the resolve of mighty China when she floated the idea of visiting Taiwan, but now that she understands the gravity of the situation, she should take the opportunity to quietly scuttle the trip before she formally confirms her intentions and announces dates.
As for what the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is actually prepared to do if Pelosi flies to Taipei, the Global Times quoted a “mainland military expert” who suggested intercepting Pelosi in midair with fighter jets and kidnapping her to a Chinese Communist airbase. Another suggested shutting down air traffic to Taiwan entirely by announcing PLA “military exercises” encompassing Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S. island of Guam.
The Global Times smirked:
On Monday a TB-001 drone of the PLA made a full circle flight around the island of Taiwan for the first time, media on the island reported on Tuesday, but Taiwan’s defense authority failed to report its activity. This exposed the island’s defense loopholes against drones, which is a great vulnerability the PLA can exploit.
The drone in question actually was detected by the Japanese and shadowed by their air force before it reached Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ); the Taiwanese military probably tracked it, as well, but has made no public statement about the incident.
In addition to repeating China’s military threats, the Global Times lectured Biden that he can forget about economic and diplomatic concessions from Beijing if Pelosi visits Taiwan.
Research fellow Lu Xiang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said:
Biden wants to engage with the Chinese top leader to seek help for the relief of inflation pressure as well as for the management of the competition and differences between the two sides, but when Pelosi, the House speaker who is in the same party as the president, is likely to make an extreme provocation against China on the most sensitive Taiwan question, it’s very unlikely to be conductive to constructive and friendly talks, and the agenda of such an exchange would also be greatly impacted.
Chinese propagandists invested tremendous effort over the past month in creating a narrative that Biden can only lower U.S. inflation enough to save his party in the midterm elections by lifting the Trump administration’s tariffs on China. In reality, China needs those tariffs lifted to save its own wobbling economy, while their effect on U.S. inflation rates is negligible.