The controversial visit of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan has created cross-strait tension between China and the United States (US).

It is the status of Taiwan that has become a reason for contention between the US and China. In August 2022, the world’s attention moved toward the Taiwan issue when Nancy Pelosi officially visited it.

This was during her trip to the Asian countries with the proclaimed objective to discuss climate change, COVID-19 pandemic recovery, trade, security, and democratic governance.

In response, the Chinese administration continuously warned Nancy Pelosi not to visit China’s Taiwan region. But Pelosi visited Taiwan to reaffirm the so-called US commitment to support the democracy on the Island against China continuously.

Nancy Pelosi’s visit intensified the tension between two major power powers, which threatened Indo-Pacific security due to the US and China’s lack of military and nuclear resources.

US collaboration with Taiwan escalated the tension between Taiwan and China, which compelled China to respond accordingly against Taiwan.

All the regional states will also get a chance to exploit the conflict for their interests in South China Sea dispute.  It would not make possible the peaceful resolution of the China and Taiwan dispute.

Moreover, most world states depend on US and China for security and economic developments.  The escalating tension between the two powers also urged states to choose between them. This will affect the whole world economy and security.

China considers the US support for democracy in Taiwan as a violation of agreements that both countries made to respect China’s One-China policy.

This has created a tremendous rift between the two countries making efforts to compete with each other in all international areanas.

China’s countermeasures against Nancy Pelosi’s visit

After this historic visit,  China took countermeasures and held the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military operations in the air and waters around the Island. By this, China showed its muscles and  capabilities to curb any action around the Taiwan strait.

PLA ships have been deployed close to the median line in the Taiwan Strait, and many Chinese aircraft have flown around the line. The Chinese military fired missiles near the island and disrupted routes for many days.

Chinese military fired missiles near the Taiwan island

Cyber warfare came into play as well during this challenging time. Several major websites from the presidential office, and the foreign ministry of Taiwan were temporarily offline by cyber-attacks when Pelosi arrived in the region.

The Defence Ministry of Taiwan also declared that its website was offline due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

However, the US considers China’s countermeasure offensive and overreaction. US claims it was a general visit of US Speakers like her visits to other Asian states.

On the other side, Chinese officials claim that Taiwan is a part of China and the US has not had the legal right to collaborate with Taiwan without the permission of China. China started the military exercises in their defense to secure their sovereignty which the US is trying to violate.

Nancy Pelosi visits TSMC for US interests

During her tour in Taiwan, US Speaker Nancy Pelosi also visited Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). TSMC is the largest chip maker for cellphones, computers, and even weapons worldwide and supplies chips to big US companies.

The US defends Taiwan from China’s attacks due to its dependence on Taiwan’s Chip industry. To reduce its dependence, the US signed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 for semiconductor production in America.

Nancy Pelosi met with the Chairman of TSMC and urged them to manufacture a base in the US and avoid making advanced Chips for China. This threatened China’s economic and industrial interests and limited its control on the Island. China took countermeasures to secure its interests.

China and US stance on Taiwan

It started in 1949, during the civil war in China when the leader of the Republic of China (ROC) and his supporters fled mainland China and went to Taiwan. They formed a government in exile for the next 25 years in Taiwan.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the ROC government in Taiwan held China’s seat on United State Security Council (UNSC). Western states recognized ROC as only China, including Taiwan and mainland China.

Soon the states argue that it is unrealistic for Taiwan’s government to represent mainland China. In 1971, the UN switched its decision and said that the Chinese communist government in Beijing was the real government of China and Taiwan was also a part of China.

Since then, Taiwan has had a de facto government. Only 15 states recognized China as an independent state. But the Biden administration follows the former US President Donald Trump’s approach to Taiwan and deepens the US-Taiwan collaboration.

The US is providing arms to the island and participating in military training to demonstrate its presence in the Taiwan Strait. The president of China, Xi Jinping, said multiple times that Taiwan’s unification with China is evitable.

On the other side, US president Jo Biden said that America believes in One- China policy. But if China tries to invade and annex Taiwan, forcefully then it would not be acceptable, and the US will also intervene with its military. The US wants a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan dispute.

China claims that China’s actions against Pelosi’s visit may be harsh but are justified because US’s main purpose is to exploit any conflict for its interests.

In Taiwan’s conflict with China, the US wants to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait to secure the geo-economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

Both China and US have geopolitical and geo-economic interests in the South China Sea. That’s why both want to maintain their influence on the region.

If the US continuously takes action over China, it might lead to a World War again because both states have alliances that will involve other states in the conflict. So, the US should let China handle its internal matters.

China should also compromise and find a sustainable neutral solution over the problem over Taiwan as this might help resolve such skirmishes to happen again. The offensive measure of China against Taiwan will also increase tension between them and make peaceful unification difficult. This might not augment well for the promotion of the peace, prosperity in the region.

Both US and China are important and responsible members of the international community. The US and China need to act rationally to reduce their contention and preserve peace in the Taiwan strait and the world.


*The writer is Fellow at The Diplomatic Insight. 

**The Diplomatic Insight does not take any position on issues. The views represented herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Diplomatic Insight and its staff.