Pelosi's unilateral visit to Taiwan is personal political stunt by an aging Western leader, leaves irrevocable damage to local society and cross-Straits relations
Published: Aug 10, 2022 12:12 AM
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on women's healthcare issues inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC on July 28, 2022. Pelosi led a delegation to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore the following day while it is unclear whether she will make a stop in the island of Taiwan. Photo: AFP
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Photo: AFP

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's provocative visit to the island of Taiwan has left a political mess, an economic setback for people in Taiwan, and escalated tensions across the Taiwan Straits amid countermeasures initiated by the Chinese mainland. It is important to consider that the mainland possesses an ever growing ability to blockade and control the island of Taiwan, which can be seen in the speed and scale of the recent military exercises, Taiwan's patriotic residents and pro-reunification observers warned.

They said that the latest round of cross-Straits tensions will make it even more clear to people in Taiwan how severe the damage can be brought by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities when colluding with the US. They urged the secessionist DPP authorities to abandon "false illusions" of Taiwan independence and stop being the pawn of the US, as the prelude to reunification has begun.

"Pelosi, get out of here! You're not welcome!" On the evening of August 2, patriotic residents and groups on the island of Taiwan held a rally across the street from the Grand Hyatt hotel in Taipei, where Pelosi was staying, to protest her unscrupulous visit to the island and damage to cross-Straits relations.

Ji Xin, one of the protest organizers, also a prominent scholar and former chairman of the Taiwan-based Alliance for the Reunification of China, followed Pelosi throughout her more than 10-hour journey in Taipei to register her indignation.

In an interview with the Global Times, Ji said it was ironic and absurd to hear that Pelosi, who comes from a country full of human rights abuses, was to allegedly promote "human rights" and "Taiwan's economic development" during her visit. "The fact is that she has returned to the US but has left a huge amount of damage done to the island that local people can hardly repair."

Ji called Pelosi a "historical sinner" in US-China and cross-Straits relations because such a high profile Western political leader nearing retirement causing such a huge follow-up crisis on the island of Taiwan in the wake of her visit, for her, is a "personal political stunt."

Following the Chinese mainland's suspension of imports of several agricultural products from the island of Taiwan, which is viewed as a punitive consequence stemming from Pelosi's visit, residents from the island's agricultural and business sectors, as well as some local netizens, have expressed dissatisfaction with the secessionist DPP, given the close connection between the island and the huge mainland market.

Pelosi's unilateral visit will surely result in a difficulty for Taiwan to attract foreign investment in the short term considering the countermeasures by the mainland, and will drag the island's economy down through the DPP's unrepentant policies, Chiu Yi, a Taiwan-based cross-Straits expert, told the Global Times.

The PLA-initiated drills around the island show how strong the Chinese mainland's ability to encircle and blockade Taiwan is. The island of Taiwan's economic lifeline could also be more easily controlled by China. And this new round of crises could cause more entrepreneurs from Taiwan to consider fleeing the island, Chiu said.

Starting from August 3, Chinese mainland customs authorities suspended the entry of citrus fruits including grapefruits, lemons, and oranges, as well as two types of fish - chilled largehead hairtail and frozen horse mackerel - from the island, in accordance with regulations and food safety requirements. "This is even worse for Taiwan's already weak fruit and fishing industries, especially with the Mid-Autumn Festival coming soon," said Chiu.

The Chinese mainland also suspended the export of natural sand to the island, according to the Ministry of Commerce, which Chiu said, will hurt infrastructure construction - a pillar industry - on the island, which may spill over to Taiwan's overall economic activity. The Chinese mainland is an important supplier of major raw materials for concrete to the island.

Moreover, the mainland announced punitive measures extended to organizations related to diehard elements pursuing Taiwan separatism. "The mainland's sanctions are a deterrent to many companies who donate to pro-separatist organizations on the island, because traditionally many companies are under pressure to fund such 'organizations.' But now the separatist nature of these institutions will make these enterprises pay a huge economic price. Their investment or production lines in the mainland will also risk heavy losses," Chiu alerted.

"This is how separatist Tsai Ing-wen administration reaps what it has sown, even if they are now attempting to play down the negative impact of countermeasures by the mainland," the observer said.

Pelosi has left the island of Taiwan with the "false illusion" that it can be protected by the US. The illusion caters to the DPP's tricks meant to test the mainland's bottom line at such a sensitive moment. However, the US is not, has never been, and will never be a reliable ally beyond a warmonger and just an arms dealer to Taiwan, Huang Chih-hsien, a well-known commentator and former TV host in Taiwan, told the Global Times.

"The international community now commonly respects the one-China principle, while the US is trying to break such a common accord. If we do not fight against a robber the first time round, eventually every robber will become even more unscrupulous," said Huang.

"The US' increased exploitation of the island of Taiwan has made both sides feel the 'pain of being apart.' I hope to greatly accelerate the process of cross-Straits reunification, which we are all urgently awaiting," she said.

However, the DPP's absolute control over all sectors on the island of Taiwan and its suppression and harassment of pro-reunification forces has marginalized the voices advocating reunification.

In the latest protest against Pelosi's visit, many patriots suffered from repression, information monitoring, and forced evictions by authorities in Taiwan, several local patriots told the Global Times.

"The DPP has been intensifying its crackdown on patriotic pro-reunification residents in recent years in various ways. Their living spaces and freedom of speech have been severely violated," a patriotic senior surnamed Ho from the island told the Global Times.

Taiwan society is not one of free expression, as Huang argued. "The power of the US, Japan, and the separatist forces dominate local society, and you will be seriously marginalized if what you think or how you act is perceived as different from the so-called 'mainstream.'"

However, patriotic supporters of reunification have never given up the vision and hope of national reunification no matter how old they are and how difficult their path is.

"This time, the mainland's countermeasures have cracked in the dyke of separatists in Taiwan. If countermeasures continue to pummel the Taiwan authorities through economic and military means, the dyke will, one day, fully collapse," said Chiu.