Freedom fighter or troublemaker?
The US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi basked in the limelight of world media with her high-profile visit to China's Taiwan region. The speaker, who should been speaking to her people back home, is peddling the worn-out democracy claim at the other side of the Pacific.
Upon her arrival, she published an op-ed in the Washington Post, claiming that by traveling to Taiwan "we honor our commitment to democracy: reaffirming that the freedoms of Taiwan must be respected." But is she really a freedom fighter or just a troublemaker?
Whether it's freedoms or democracy, Pelosi is only seeking an excuse. Her visit is by no means a fight for freedom, but a provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques and infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In fact, what she has done should in no way be seen as an isolated incident. Seeing Taiwan as a means to contain China, the US has been hollowing out the one-China principle over the years. In 2000, the US put out the so-called "Taiwan Relations Act" it unilaterally concocted before the three China-US joint communiques.
Several years ago, the US took out the once-secretive so-called Six Assurances to Taiwan and made that part of its one-China policy. The US affirmed in the Indo-Pacific Strategy its security obligation "across the Taiwan Strait".
In this sense, Pelosi's visit is the latest step to play "Taiwan card" to fulfill the geopolitical interests of the US. In response, China has taken necessary and legitimate countermeasures.
When she came, troubles came. When she left, troubles were left. Pelosi's reckless visit has severely jeopardized peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the whole region.
The visit of the third-highest ranking official in the US government definitely represents an open breach of the US' commitment not to develop official relations with Taiwan. Pelosi was given full protocol treatment by the Democratic Progressive Party authorities, who make no secret of pursuing Taiwan independence in their party program.
For the "Taiwan independence" forces, the visit represents an exceptionally strong signal that the US is on their side and will encourage them to go further down a dangerous path. If a trolley car is out of control, braking is definitely a more rational and responsible choice.
The speaker has also caused troubles to China-US relations, casting dark clouds over exchanges and dialogues between the two countries in various areas.
In response to the provocative visit, the Chinese government announced countermeasures, including the following eight: China-US Theater Commanders Talk, China-US Defense Policy Coordination Talks, China-US Military Maritime Consultative Agreement meetings have been cancelled; bilateral cooperation on repatriation of illegal immigrants, on legal assistance in criminal matters, on counternarcotic, and against transnational crimes as well as talks on climate change have been suspended.
According to former US ambassador to China under Obama administration Max Baucus, Pelosi's visit is an "irresponsible mistake" and "clearly increased tension in the relationship".
If Pelosi's democracy "panacea" could heal the world, her trip should have received wide support. However, a survey conducted by the online newspaper udn.com in Taiwan found more than two-thirds of the people in Taiwan not supportive of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
And her visit naturally aroused the indignation of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, one-fifth of the world population. The voice of opposition to her visit is also resounding in the international community. More than 170 countries and many international organizations have spoken out, reaffirming their firm commitment to the one-China principle and underscoring their understanding and support of China's legitimate position.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres explicitly stressed that the UN remains committed to the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. The centerpiece is the one-China principle, namely, there is but one China in the world, the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is part of China.
If Pelosi really wants to fight for freedom, she has more to fight for at home than abroad. As US Republican Congresswoman Majorie Greene tweeted, Pelosi is "obsessed with her own power she's held for decades while our entire country crumbles... enough with this fake 'courage' defending democracy."
In the US, democracy dysfunction is looming large. From the Capitol riot, the death of George Floyd, the Robb Elementary School shooting and over a million COVID deaths, the hypocrisy of the kind of democracy Pelosi refers to has been fully exposed.
Through the provocative trip, Pelosi further proves herself to be a troublemaker instead of a freedom fighter. If some pitiful conscience is still alive in the speaker's heart, she needs to think about her political legacy in a more constructive way. If not, it is better to idle away her remaining time in office than acting up political farce and stirring up more troubles for US-China relations and the world.
The author is a Beijing-based commentator on international affairs.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
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