An NHK correspondent in Beijing commented that China is reacting sharply to House Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as it came only five days after the Biden-Xi talks during which the Chinese leader warned the United States not to interfere in Taiwan affairs. The reporter noted that immediately after Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan, multiple Chinese agencies released statements expressing opposition and condemnation, adding that, in a rare move, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Burns in the middle of the night to condemn the visit. The NHK correspondent explained that China could not take a weak-kneed response ahead of the Communist Party convention scheduled for later this year where President Xi is expected to seek a third term. Concerning China’s response, he said China is likely to increase its military pressure on Taiwan, noting that the Chinese military is expected to hold military exercises in the area surrounding Taiwan from Aug. 4 to 7. He added, however, that China is actually hoping for stability both at home and abroad as President Xi hopes to remain in power beyond his current term, saying that China is expected to exercise caution in assessing how to “lower the fist it has raised.”
On House Speaker Pelosi’s decision to visit Taiwan at this juncture, NHK’s Washington correspondent said Pelosi explained in an op-ed to the Washington Post that the visit should send the message that “America stands with Taiwan” as China continues to threaten the island. He also speculated that since the media reported on her plan to visit Taiwan in advance, there was no way for her to cancel it because she would have been criticized for being “weak-kneed” if she did. He said that since the Democrats and Republicans both agree on the need to take a hard line against China, the Biden administration did not want to be viewed as giving too much consideration to Beijing. By positioning the visit as having been decided by House Speaker Pelosi and keeping a certain distance from her, the White House is hoping to avoid escalating tensions in the region and to maintain dialogue with Beijing, the correspondent claimed.