China Shelves Bilateral Talks with the US over Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip

Pelosi visits Taiwan amidst Sino-US tensions

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan on 2nd August, 2022. China has declared on Friday, 5th August that it will be stopping all the bilateral dialogues with the US on major issues of climate change and military relations. China shelved bilateral talks with the US over Pelosi’s Taiwan trip.

Pelosi landed in Taipei on 2nd August. She was received warmly by President Tsai Ing-wen. Pelosi expressed the ‘unconditioned solidarity’ in safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy. She described Taiwan as an example of ‘flourishing democracy’ and an ‘inspiration’ for all freedom loving people around the world. The leaders discussed reaffirmation of each other’s support in promoting shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Pelosi with President of Taiwan

China’s Discontent

China is extremely dissatisfied with it even before Pelosi’s visit. It announced military operations and drills of warplanes and warships in the Taiwan Strait soon after the visit. The People’s Liberation Army declared the exercises to be taken place from 2nd August night in the waters and skies near Taiwan and include the firing of long-range ammunition. Chinese FM Wang Yi is of the opinion that this was a ‘betrayal’ on the Taiwan issue by the US. This bankrupts US’s national credibility. China had fired multiple missiles into waters surrounding Taiwan and carrying out military drills around the island. The White House summoned China’s ambassador, Qin Gang, to protest against this drill.

Military drills as China shelves bilateral talks with US over Pelosi's Taiwan visit

On 5th August, China shelved bilateral talks with the US over Pelosi’s Taiwan visit on several key issues. China’s foreign ministry stated that this visit will exert a severe impact on the Sino-U.S. relations. The visit is considered as a serious ‘infringement on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

US spokesperson at White House said that the visit is ‘nothing unprecedented’ and there was no violation of any sovereignty.

Sino-US Bilateral Shelved Talks

A series of bi-lateral talks was going on for several issues between Washington and Beijing. Following Pelosi’s visit, China shelved these bilateral ongoing talks following Pelosi’s Taiwan visit. There might be serious implication to halt cooperation on these common grounds. The eight dialogues on which talks has been halted are Theatre Commanders Talks, Defense Policy Coordination Talks, Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, Cooperation on the repatriation of immigration, Cooperation against transnational crimes, Cooperation on Legal assistance in criminal matters, China-US counter narcotics cooperation and China-US talks on climate change

Regional Implications

According to experts this visit has caused ripples in the Indo-Pacific. Washington’s relation with Beijing has deteriorated. Japan and ASEAN countries took a collateral hit in the process. Japan has militarized itself for a possible escalation because of the proximity of the Senkaku Islands . South Korea had distanced itself with its President staying away from physically interacting with Pelosi despite being in Seoul.
The ASEAN countries were shaken too. They subtly blamed Pelosi for disturbing the status quo over Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. The ASEAN did not prefer any instability due to Sino-US power rivalry in the region . India refrained from any opinion while maintaining its firm military stance against PLA in East Ladakh.
Pelosi’s visit has raised severe controversy in the wake of Sino-US rivalry over Taiwan and Indo-Pacific. There are a section who voiced their support on the Congresswoman’s visit as a ‘gesture’ for American solidarity to Taiwan’s democracy. But there are others who have admitted that the visit was quite reckless and extremely risky. Even President Biden took an indirect jibe and said that it was not a good idea.

Biden to hold dialogue after China shelved bilateral talks with US over Pelosi's Taiwan visit

America’s Taiwan policy is very ambiguous , incoherent and lacks consistency. The US has a ‘confusing’ attitude towards China and Taiwan. It officially supports ‘One China policy’. But also supports Taiwan as a legally independent nation. A close monitoring and skillful diplomacy is required right now to avoid unintended escalation and unwanted war in future.