Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit Raises Tensions

Written by Cameron Chambers – September 5, 2022

Tensions are on the rise in the Pacific following U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. This visit intended to signal the ties between the United States and the island of Taiwan, which is ahead of the 20th Party Congress in Beijing. As a result, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has responded by imposing military drills around the self-governed island. The military drills have resulted in an unprecedented situation in which Taiwan is in the middle of an active live-fire drill, which seeks to influence its decision-making. 

While the visit occurred in mid-August, tensions are ongoing, and in response to the PRC’s military drills, Taiwan has responded by issuing a warning that any aircraft violating its airspace will be shot down. This comes as Taiwan shot down an unidentified drone that was within its airspace near one of its inlets. Per a response, the PRC foreign ministry discredited the concern suggested that the drones were “nothing to fuss about”.  Taiwan issued warnings that the PRC is likely engaging in grey-zone activities, using civilian drones and other covert measures to provoke and intimidate the island from acting more aggressively.   

Taiwan has further signaled its resolve to defend itself with a $1.1 billion arms package from the United States. This package includes radar warning systems, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Sidewinder surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles–to name a few. The PRC responded to the arms sale forcefully, stating that relations between the U.S. and the PRC are “severely jeopardized.”  However, the U.S. contends that the arms sales are in response to aggressive PRC moves within the region, as the sale was essential to Taiwan security.

The tensions between Taiwan, PRC, and the U.S. are likely to continue in the near future. Some worry that the current situation might lead to dangerous escalations. Furthermore, tensions within the region may contribute to a dangerous miscalculation by any party involved. This comes with the backdrop of great power competition in which the U.S. and PRC seek to undermine the other on the global stage. 

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