In show of force, China punishes U.S. over Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

The Communist Party of China flexes military and economic muscles.

When U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, an independent country claimed by China, from August 2 to 3, the CCP’s mouthpieces responded with threats, including shooting down the plane carrying Pelosi and her delegation.  

In other acts of intimidation against the U.S., the Chinese military was put on high alert, warplanes and naval ships went across the dividing line of the Taiwan Strait, and ballistic missiles were launched into the waters surrounding Taiwan on August 4.  The Japanese authority stated that five missiles had landed in its exclusive economic zone waters.  

On August 5, the CCP stopped all dialogues and communications with the U.S. and imposed sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family.  The CCP said it will cut military ties, cancel defense meetings, talks on maritime safety and on climate change, end cooperation on anti-drug trafficking, repatriating illegal immigrants and transnational crimes.  Additionally, on August 3, the CCP also suspended exports of natural sand to Taiwan and halted imports of food, fruit and fish products.

And by cutting off all lines of communications with the U.S. and acting in an opaque manner, the CCP is in fact escalating the crisis and pushing China on a confrontational path which may result in miscalculation and lead to a military conflict with the U.S. 

In recent years, the CCP, which is intent on using force, has intensified tensions with Taiwan, one of the freest countries in the world with a robust and vibrant democracy, by ramping up warplane incursions into Taiwan’s air defense zone and launching cyberattacks on Taiwan government agencies.  At the same time, the CCP is on a campaign to intimidate companies and countries alike to isolate Taiwan economically and diplomatically.

CCP wolf warriors play up “Rise of the east, decline of the west”

China will not eventually liberalize and become a democratic country, and China will not become a defender of the rules-based international order, which offers prosperity and stability, after the free world has extensively engaged economically with the Communist Party of China (CCP), which has made the country a global superpower with the second largest economy.  

Rather, Communist China, especially under the reign of Xi Jinping, has become more aggressive, repressive and coercive both at home and abroad.  Xi and his wolf warriors are confident that China is now strong enough to take its rightful place as a global superpower, especially now that Western powers are declining.  

China’s reaction to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit has again showed the world the gangster behavior of the CCP in using heavy-handed tactics to shock, awe and cow the intended parties.  However, what the CCP saw as a win may very well be viewed by others as belligerent and reckless, and reinforced the perception that the CCP is operating like the Mafia.  

It is not hard to imagine what China will do to Taiwan once the CCP gained effective control.  In Hong Kong, Xi has reneged on the Sino-British Joint Declaration Treaty that legally guarantees autonomy till 2047, cracked down on political freedoms and human rights, and stamped out democracy.  

Since the passing of the Security Law in June 2020, Hong Kong has seen mass arrests and imprisonment of pro-democracy politicians, activists, protestors and journalists, and at the same time, there has been a steady clampdown on civil liberties.

It is telling that China’s budget for domestic security has exceeded external defense spending since 2010 and the gap has grown since Xi became general secretary in 2012.  The domestic security expenditure is spent on state security, police, surveillance, armed civil militia and other measures to censor information, contain dissent, control the public and quell disturbances.

In China, business and politics are intertwined and the operating environment is a political minefield.  CEOs and investors may not care too much about democracy and other universal values in their pursuit of profits but they do care about having legal protection, stability and a conducive climate, which they are not getting under the totalitarian regime of Xi.  

Therefore, China is a threat to democracy and sovereignty as Xi uses economic and military leverage to bully businesses and foreign governments into submission.  Everyone runs the constant risk of crossing the CCP’s so-called ever-changing red lines, which are vague and all-encompassing.

There is no justification for the CCP to use Pelosi’s Taiwan visit as a pretext for aggressive military activities in the Taiwan Strait and to conduct live-fire exercises, which risk unnecessary escalation.  

The CCP’s escalatory military actions, together with its favored tactic of economic coercion, are destabilizing the region and jeopardizing peace and prosperity provided by a rules-based international order.  Indeed, the world is now at a crossroad, and faces a choice between democracy and dictatorship. 

Photo credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com. New York, NY – March 14, 2022: Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding town hall at Mount Saint Vincent College.

Lee Kok Leong

Lee Kok Leong

Kok Leong, executive editor, has overall editorial responsibility for the direction and focus of Maritime Fairtrade. He has two decades of working experiences, including holding senior regional roles in business-to-business (B2B) print and online publications. He enjoys his work as a journalist, and regards it as a calling.

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