Politicians who plan to capitalize on Taiwan question will face backlash
Published: Aug 03, 2022 11:57 PM
Nancy Pelosi Photo: AFP

Nancy Pelosi Photo: AFP

When tensions in the Taiwan Straits continue to ramp up as a result of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial trip to the island, some lawmakers and politicians of some US allies seem eager to follow the suit and put up the same ugly show. 

UK's House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee is planning a visit to Taiwan probably in November or early December, The Guardian reported on Monday. Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis tweeted on Wednesday that "Now Pelosi has opened the door to Taiwan much wider, I am sure other defenders of freedom and democracy will be walking through very soon."

These shallow politicians may think of Taiwan as a place to come and take some photos and then post online to show off, a way to increase exposure and most likely earn personal gains. But if they think this way, then these politicians are treating international relations as child's play. They are not hesitating to sacrifice the interests of their country for self-interest.

Britain is confronting the plight of separatism as well. Would it be acceptable to Britain if Chinese officials expressed their support to Scottish independence? Such sentiments apply to the Taiwan question, said Wang Shuo, a professor at the School of International Relations of Beijing Foreign Studies University.

"In the UK, for the moment, it seems that politicians can gain more support if they behave more extreme. Under such a political atmosphere, those British lawmakers may push to play the 'Taiwan card' for seeking more political self-interest."

It is noticeable that up to now, the majority of those interested in visiting China's Taiwan island are lawmakers of the legislatures in the separation of powers in Western countries.

Many observers in the Taiwan island have a clear picture of Pelosi's visit - it won't benefit Taiwan, but only trigger the Chinese mainland's countermeasures. "This is nothing more than a clumsy political game in which self-interested politicians continue to disturb normal international relations and inject more uncertainty, in a bid to exchange personal political prestige," according to Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University.

However, Shen noted that Lithuania's Foreign Minister's remarks are worthy of vigilance - will Vilnius recognize Taiwan diplomatically? In regard to the Taiwan question, much attention should be paid to countries like Lithuania. And punitive actions against these countries should be taken, if they cross the red line of the one-China principle.

Some countries do not really understand how valuable it is for a major power like China to underline peaceful coexistence and the respect of the sovereignty of small countries. Given Landsbergis' tweet, the possibility that Lithuania would send diplomats to visit the island can't be ruled out, said the Chinese expert. But China will effectively respond to and restrain such reckless moves.

Some politicians have an illusion - they seem to believe that they can safely challenge China's red line. Such an illusion can only be awakened by a cold reality. Being a member in a camp led by Washington does not mean it has the same strength as the US, which can be exploited indulgently. In the eyes of these politicians, all they saw is the ecstasy brought by Pelosi's landing in Taipei, but ignored China's response, Washington's recognition of China's strength, and potential consequences faced by Taiwan secessionists.

"When they confront retaliatory measures from China, it is hoped they will not complain. The word 'self-inflicted' is used to portray them," said Shen.