Pelosi: tensions over possibility of Taiwan visit

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, began her trip to Asia on Sunday. She left open the question of whether she will visit Taiwan - as initially announced - as well as Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. China's President Xi Jinping has warned against such a visit and ordered military manoeuvres off the island. Europe's press sees various dangers looming.

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Der Standard (AT) /

An unnecessary predicament

It would have been wiser for Washington to avoid the whole discussion, Der Standard observes:

“In the current situation the US can only lose. If Pelosi leaves Taipei out it will be seen to be publicly giving in to China's threats. If she visits Taiwan this will cause a dangerous escalation. And at a time when experts believe China may soon make good on its threat to take military steps to annex Taiwan for domestic reasons. A predicament that could have been avoided.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Taipeh is worth a visit

Under no circumstances should Washington give in to threats from Beijing, says Berlingske:

“If Pelosi decides not to visit Taiwan, ceding to pressure from President Biden, who is reportedly against it, it is important that the trip is cancelled without giving China the impression that it has won a victory. But it is crucial to stress that Pelosi has the right to visit an island like Taiwan at any time. No leeway should be given to attempts to force politicians to stay away, and we must hope that Pelosi will go anyway. Taiwan is a democratic state and respects human rights. Taiwan has earned the honour of a visit by Pelosi.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Concrete help better than a diplomatic row

Pelosi would not be doing the Taiwanese government any favours either, De Volkskrant puts in:

“The visit remains a bad idea because it would be purely symbolic and would only stoke tensions without making any significant contribution to the security and continuation of Taiwan's democratic system. The Taiwanese government has more to gain from low-key, tangible help. By not coordinating her plans with Biden, Pelosi played right into the hands of the Chinese leaders. If the visit doesn't go ahead, Beijing will interpret it as a victory. China already has proof that the US is divided on the issue of support for Taiwan.”

Vyacheslav Azarov (UA) /

Putin would be the winner

An escalation of tensions between the US and China would benefit Putin in several ways, Odessa-based left-wing blogger Vyacheslav Azarov warns on his Facebook page:

“If Pelosi does touch down on the separatist island and if major chaos breaks out in the Far East, the problems in Ukraine will move far down the West's list of priorities. The US can't just pull resources out of its sleeve either. Russia, on the other hand, would benefit greatly from such a conflict, not only regarding Ukraine, but also in terms of increasing its energy sales. Because China would need a lot of energy should it come to a war.”