Why is China angry with US officials visiting Taiwan?
China is often angered by visits by US state officials to Taiwan. Beijing views the visit of US officials to Taiwan as a form of support for the island which is persistent in seeking independence. The visit, according to China, could threaten sovereignty and jeopardize diplomatic relations between the two countries. So far, China considers Taiwan as part of its sovereignty. They will do anything to defend the island, even if necessary by force. China has also warned that anyone or any country who visits Taiwan will be punished. It could be in the form of sanctions, severance of diplomatic relations, or other decisive actions. Last month, Beijing’s military even fired missiles into waters near the island following a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Some Chinese officials considered Pelosi’s visit very dangerous and provocative. One of those who spoke out was the Chinese Foreign Minister Spokesperson, Hua Chunying. “The nature of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is not a matter of democracy, but a matter of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Hua said, quoted by Anadolu Agency. According to Hua, any attempt by the US to provoke China will only embarrass itself. He cited an incident from Pelosi’s previous visit that sparked riots among people in black in Hong Kong. China has repeatedly warned the US not to “play with fire” about Taiwan and canceled the visit. However, Washington ignored. On the day Pelosi arrived, China announced a massive military exercise. On the first day of the exercise, 11 missiles launched into waters near Taiwan. Andy Mok, a think tank analyst at the Center for China and Globalization, said Beijing’s crackdown showed concern about China’s position. “If China does not respond decisively, including with a military response, then this could encourage other countries to undermine China’s efforts and cross-strait reunification, which is an important issue for China,” Andy said as quoted by Nikkei Asia.
US Congressman’s Visit to Taiwan
Not yet subsided by China’s anger over Pelosi’s visit, the US Congress even visited on August 14. On that day, China announced a new military exercise and deployed a dozen fighter jets to the Taiwan median line, the barrier that separates China-Taiwan. A week later, on August 21, the Governor of Indiana, United States, Eric Holcomb, also visited Taiwan. During the visit, Holcomb met with government officials, business people and academics to strengthen cooperation in the economic and education fields between the US and Taiwan. He also met the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing Wen. During the meeting, the island’s leader said Taiwan is a key security and economic ally in the Indo-Pacific region. Then on August 30, the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, also visited Taiwan. Whenever China is angry, the US will argue that they uphold the One China principle. This principle is a policy that only recognizes China, with the seat of government in Beijing, as the legitimate government covering Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. On the other hand, Washington also has the Taiwan Relations Act (RTA).
US and Taiwan Cooperation Act
Under the law, the US can establish relations with the people of Taiwan and the island’s government without specifying the government in question. The US has always considered Taiwan as a key partner in the security and economic fields in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, Taiwan is a very important territory for the US, so they need to ensure the island’s status is maintained. One observer at the Foundation for Defense Democracy, Craig Singleton, said that the US believes that China is very afraid of Taiwan becoming a democracy. “So America is increasing pressure on the island nation and Beijing is issuing threats to reunite. They don’t just see a threat, they see themselves,” Singleton was quoted as saying by Newsweek. Meanwhile, Taiwan for China is part of their sovereignty. Beijing relies on the 1992 Consensus. This agreement was reached between the CCP and the KMT. However, both parties did not agree on the contents of the consensus. For President Xi Jinping, the 1992 Consensus reflected an agreement that both sides of the strait belonged to China. “And will work together to pursue national reunification,” Xi said in 2019, quoted by the Council on Foreign Relations. Observer from Stanford University, Oryana Skilar Mastro, said the civil war between China-Taiwan is actually still continuing. The war was said to be successful if Beijing succeeded in overcoming the problem of Taipei wanting to become an independent country. “This is an emotional and political issue,” said Mastro. China and Taiwan had been involved in a war in 1945. The Chinese Communion Party and the nationalist Kuomintang Party (KMT) were fighting for power. However, the KMT lost and fled to Taiwan. On this island, they established their own government.