Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit mired in controversy

Washington, Aug 1 (IANS)
Former Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, has accused the Joe Biden administration in the US of mismanaging Speaker Nancy Pelosis upcoming visit to Taiwan despite angering China and inviting retaliation from the dragon.
The Trump-era spy chief claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping is capitalising on President Biden’s “weakness” as Beijing and its media mouthpieces are threatening of dire consequences if Pelosi visits Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, the Washington Examiner reported.
“It’s been mismanaged by the Biden administration,” Ratcliffe said, responding in the affirmative to a question by Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo.
“And, to this point, she does need to go for the sake of our national security, so that the American people see that the Chinese Communist Party is not the one dictating American foreign policy, that it is the American government doing that, but the Biden administration publicly talking about it ahead of time and then not backing up Nancy Pelosi with the media or on the call with President Xi Jinping,” Ratcliff said.
“I mean, I think we have come to expect that President Biden, his weakness comes through. We didn’t have high expectations for that call, but, very clearly, he did not back up the Speaker’s right to go to Taiwan, and, as a result, President Xi is acting on that weakness,” he added.
Taiwan, formerly Formosa and now known as the Republic of China, is an independent island nation off the coast of mainland China. The Chinese Communist Party has sought to bring the territory under its control, while Taiwan is self-governed and receives US defence support, despite not being formally recognised.
US’ relations with Taiwan became unofficial in 1979 after the United States agreed to establish diplomatic relations with the CCP-ruled Chinese mainland via the “one China” policy.
Pelosi is scheduled to make a stop in Taiwan enroute Asia, as she is leading a Congressional delegation on the long journey. An itinerary released by Pelosi’s team includes stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan but does not officially mention the stop in Taiwan.
Chinese state media figures warned that Beijing would carry out “severe punishment” on Taiwan if Pelosi landed on the island, and a Chinese Foreign Ministry readout of a call between Biden and Xi claimed the Chinese leader warned his US counterpart on the matter that “those who play with fire perish by it”.
The Biden administration, including Department of Defence officials, repeatedly said the decision was up to Pelosi, but President Biden did say last week that the military was concerned about it.
On Friday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said there’s “no reason” to “come to blows” if Pelosi visits Taiwan “because there’s been no change in American policy with respect to One China”, the Examiner said.
Ratcliffe, a former Republican Congressman from Texas, said he agreed with an assessment by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned Xi is “watching” what the United States is prepared to do to assist its allies and that failing to help the Taiwanese people defend themselves will “only embolden” the Chinese leader.
He also cited a report by the New York Times that said US officials fear China will make a move on Taiwan in the next 18 months, which Ratcliffe stressed is “not a coincidence” that it would be at a time when Biden’s first term is not yet up.
After also bringing up the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ratcliffe stressed, “The fact that all three of these things are happening during the Biden administration really speaks to what a disaster he has been as a foreign policy president.”

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