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Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan amid US-China tensions

A man uses a magnifying glass to read a newspaper headline reporting on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Asia at a stand in Beijing on Sunday, July 31. (Andy Wong/AP)

The visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, a high-profile critic of Beijing, comes at a sensitive time for China.

China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, celebrated its founding anniversary on August 1, and Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, is preparing to break with convention and seek a third term. at the 20th Congress of the ruling Communist Party this fall.

While the politically sensitive moment could trigger a stronger response from Beijing, the Communist Party may also want to provide stability and prevent things from spiraling out of control, experts say.

“Honestly, it’s not the right time for Xi Jinping to provoke a military conflict right before the 20th Party Congress. It’s in Xi Jinping’s interest to handle this rationally and not trigger another crisis. of all the other crises it has to deal with,” said Drew Thompson, visiting senior fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Thompson pointed to China’s slowing economy, worsening housing crisis, rising unemployment and the ongoing struggle to curb sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks as part of its zero-Covid policy.

“So I think whatever they do, it will be measured, it will be calculated. They will definitely try to put more pressure on Taiwan, but I think they will stop long before anything that is particularly risky, or that could create conditions that they cannot control,” he said.

But Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said it was difficult to predict what China would do.

“It’s a very difficult situation to handle. First, (Beijing) must resolutely take unprecedented countermeasures. Second, it must prevent military conflicts between the United States and China,” he said. . “We won’t know how things will go until the last minute.”


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