Why is China objecting to Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan and What is One China Policy? Explained

Nancy Pelosi Taiwan Visit: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on August 2nd defying a string of warnings and threats from China, becoming  the highest-ranked elected US official to visit the island in 25 years.

Why is China objecting to Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan?
Why is China objecting to Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan?

Nancy Pelosi Taiwan visit: US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on August 2, 2022 despite warning from China, becoming  the highest-ranked elected US official to visit the island in 25 years. Pelosi's visit has stoked fresh tensions between US and China with the latter vowing to launch "targeted military actions" in response to the visit. 

Nancy Pelosi told Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen that her visit to Taiwan was a show of support for the island, which China views as a part of its territory. "Today, our delegation... came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship," Pelosi said. 

While Pelosi maintained that her Taiwan visit 'in no way contradicts' US policy toward China, China slammed the US actions in Taiwan calling them "extremely dangerous".

Nancy Pelosi's flight to Taiwan becomes world's most tracked flight

The flight tracker website was swamped on August 2, 2022 as hundreds of thousands tried to track Pelosi's plane to see if she would land in Taiwan. There were over 708,000 people who were trying to track her flight. The massive number forced the website to limit non-subscribers' access to the site to keep the service working. The plane carrying Nancy Pelosi avoided flying over the South China Sea. 

Chinese military aircraft enter Taiwan Air Defence Zone

China has vowed to launch a series of "targeted military actions" in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit. The Chinese military has promptly announced plans for a series of military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, endangering international border.

As per Chinese state media, 21 Chinese fighter jets crossed the Taiwan Strait and entered into Taiwan Air Defence Zone on August 2, 2022. The Taiwan military has denied reports of jets crossing Taiwan strait. China had warned earlier that the United States will "pay the price" if US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan during her Asia trip. 

Taiwan will not back down: President Tsai Ing-wen 

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen announced her defiant stand against China's threats as she met US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She said, "Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will... continue to hold the line of defence for democracy."

Taiwan's military also said that it is "determined, capable and confident" it can protect the island against threats by China. "We are meticulously preparing various plans and appropriate troops will be dispatched to respond," said Taiwan's defence ministry amid threat from China. 

Why is China objecting to Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan?

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on August 2, 2022 defying a string of warnings and threats from China that has sparked fresh tensions between the two countries. The 82-year-old lawmaker is currently second in line to US Presidency. She has become the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. The last US House of Representatives speaker to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.

China is objecting to Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, as it regards her presence as a major provocation by the US. China considers the self-ruled island nation as a part of its territory and has tried to keep it isolated on the world stage.

China is opposed to countries having any official exchanges with Taipei. Chinese President Xi Jinping had reportedly warned the US President Joe Biden in a call last week against "playing with fire" on Taiwan.

What is One China Policy?

The One China Policy is a diplomatic acknowledgement that there is only one Chinese government, which is the People's Republic of China and Taiwan is a part of China. Under the One China Policy, the United is committed to Beijing's claim to be the sole government of both mainland China and Taiwan.

Under the policy, the US has formal ties with China and not Taiwan, which is seen by mainland China has a breakaway province that will be reunified with the mainland in the future. 

Taiwan's government on the other hand, claims that it is an independent country and officially calls itself the "Republic of China" (ROC). 

The One China Policy can be traced back to 1949 after the end of the Chinese civil war. The defeated Nationalists, known as the Kuomintang, had retreated to Taiwan and set up their government their, while victorious Communists began ruling the mainland calling it the People's Republic of China. Both sides claim to represent all of China. 

China's ruling Communist Party has threatened to use force if Taiwan ever decides to formally declares independence.

One China Policy: Key Features

  • The One-China policy recognises only the People’s Republic of China.
  • It states that there is only one sovereign state under the name China with PRC serving as the sole legitimate government of that China.
  • The policy opposes two states holding the same name 'China' and the idea that China and Taiwan form two separate countries. 
  • The policy does not recognise the existence of Taiwan. 
  • Any country that wants diplomatic relations with mainland China must break official ties with Taipei.
  • This has resulted in diplomatic isolation of Taiwan from the international community.

US Policy towards China 

The United States recognises China and PRC as the sole legal government of China and maintains informal relations with Taiwan. 

Initially, many governments including the US had recognised Taiwan but the relations between the two countries shifted in 1970s. 
The US established formal relations with the People’s Republic of China on January 1, 1979 under President Jimmy Carter, formally cutting ties with Taiwan and closing its embassy in Taipei. 

The US though maintained informal relations with Taiwan through trade offices or cultural institutes and it continuous to remain as remains Taiwan's most important security ally. The US also passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which guarantees support for the island. 

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