Why Pelosi’s Taiwan visitis raising U.S.-China tensions
Taiwan, an island of 23 million people 80 miles off the coast of China, has long been a point of tension between Washington and Beijing. Now those tensions are at a new high, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with senior officials there on Wednesday. Ms. Pelosi is the highest-level American official to go to the island since 1997, when her predecessor Newt Gingrich made a visit.
China claims Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy, as its territory, and has vowed to take it back, by force if necessary. In a call with President Biden on Thursday, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, sharply warned the United States against intervening in the dispute. Beijing has vigorously protested Ms. Pelosi’s trip, warning of unspecified consequences for the United States.
Its warnings have reverberated through the Pentagon and the Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, where American military officials have been tasked with protecting Ms. Pelosi, as well as assessing what China could do militarily in response to her visit. Taiwan, the world’s leading producer of semiconductors, is also vulnerable to stepped-up economic pressure from Beijing.
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