— If China really is offended by the Pelosi visit, it should sell US Treasury bonds. Hit the US where it hurts. Don’t be sucked into wasting money on weapons.
Aug. 2-3, 2022 —Opinion by Mathew Carr
US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, by traveling to Taiwan Aug. 2, seems to be stoking tension unnecessarily with China — perhaps in a series of distractions thrown up by the country most to blame for the climate crisis.
The US is increasing the chance of more conflict, while shares of weapons makers such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are jumping in the past week.
Taxpayers suffer as money and political capital that should be used for the climate crisis is funneled to war, unnecessarily.
Middle classes in India, China and Africa are seen as providing the biggest demand jumps for products and services over the next three decades. So the military tension in Asia seems to be about securing markets, as well as the distraction from climate accountability.
The US has 4% of the world’s population yet has produced about a quarter of the heat-trapping gas that is causing record heatwaves and flooding across the globe.
Meanwhile people in countries including Pakistan are struggling for access to water because of drought, spending hours each day just to make sure they can get enough to survive.
Some Pakistanis are conversely dying because of massive rainfall.
In reporting of Pelosi’s Asia trip (as far as I can see), there is little evidence big issues like climate change are being addressed with the urgency they deserve.
Let’s hope that changes during the next hours and days and there’s no further military conflict on top of the hugely damaging Ukraine war (which was arguably made more likely by the actions of the US-led NATO).
There’s also a proxy war raging between the US and China, playing out in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, accused of war crimes, is holed up in Singapore. Did Pelosi encourage Singapore to deal with Gotabaya’s alleged crimes, while she was there?
There is no sign of it.
China said last week it hoped “relevant parties” would refrain from interfering with its legitimate maritime activities, after New Delhi voiced concern over a Chinese military ship’s planned visit to a port in India’s southern neighbour Sri Lanka, according to Reuters.
India worries that the Chinese-built and leased port of Hambantota will be used by China as a military base in India’s backyard. The $1.5 billion port is near the main shipping route from Asia to Europe. Shipping data from Refinitiv Eikon showed Chinese research and survey vessel Yuan Wang 5 was en route to Hambantota and due to arrive on Aug. 11, at a time when Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades. India has provided Sri Lanka with nearly $4 billion in support this year alone.
China appeared to send the vessel Yuan Wang 5 around the time Pelosi’s visit was speculated, so it’s not blameless for the military buildup / distraction.
China might be signalling it is being treated unfairly about Taiwan, which it regards as its own territory.
Also China has caused less of the climate crisis than the U.S. , even though it has more than four times the population. Another injustice.
See this translation of the vessel’s name:
See this opinion published by Free Malaysia Today:
An open letter to Nancy Pelosi
August 2, 2022 8:15 AM
From Lim Teck Ghee
Dear Nancy Pelosi,
Good that you, Joe Biden and the US military appear to have decided that a stopover or even a layover in Taipei is an unnecessary provocation which would not serve the interests of the Americans, Taiwanese or the rest of the world.
Apparently war hawks and wannabe Republican leaders such as former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who had tweeted that they will accompany you on your possible trip to Taiwan, have also chickened out.
This development seems to be taking place following the warning by Chinese state media commentator and Global Times editor Hu Xijin that you and other accompanying congress members will be targeted.
“If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is an invasion. The Chinese military has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down,” Xijin wrote in a tweet, which has been removed due to apparent violation of Twitter rules.
Given the conservative media’s bad mouthing of you, your Congress colleagues and Biden on the apparent capitulation to Beijing, you may still change your mind. Please don’t do a somersault.
Meanwhile, here’s some advice which will serve the cause of peace and also your own political and financial interests.
First, as the third most important political leader of the US, you should focus on the domestic problems of your country rather than take off on what has been described as a “junket, publicity-seeking excursion, or propaganda exercise”.
As a representative of California’s 12th congressional district you must know that your district – as with the rest of San Francisco – is in a deep crisis from homelessness, drugs, crime and security, migrants, climate change and other socio-economic and political problems.
You would have known of the severity of these domestic issues even before you won office more than 30 years ago. It is better for the voters who have put their faith and trust in you that you devote the rest of your political time to resolving these issues instead of wandering off to parts of the world which everyone knows you have little interest in or concern about.
By comparison, a trip to the border with Mexico to help put the spotlight on how the US is mishandling its worst migrant crisis would be a bigger PR win for you and the Democrats.
Some less charitable critics have suggested that it is also better for you to spend more time guiding your husband who apparently has recently taken a beating in the share market.
Correcting your domestic record or image does not really necessitate travel to and setting off a fire in the China part of the world. Here’s some advice and guidance from some key players that your media team may have missed.
From Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent phone call with Biden: “Resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people … Those who play with fire will perish by it.”
From Donald Trump on China: According to then national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir, Trump liked to point to the tip of one of his sharpies and say, “This is Taiwan,” then point to the Resolute desk in the Oval Office and say, “This is China.” “Taiwan is like two feet from China,” Trump told one Republican senator. “We are 8,000 miles away. If they invade, there isn’t a f***ing thing we can do about it.”
From the US-China Agreement of 1979: “The United States recognises the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.
“The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China (emphasise) that both sides wish to reduce the danger of international military conflict. Neither should seek hegemony — that is the dominance of one nation over others —in the Asia-Pacific region or in any other region of the world and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony.
“The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.”
Finally, Nancy, here is my own proposal. I and also many others in Asia would like to sponsor a trip for you to Xinjiang, Hongkong, Tibet and other parts of China where you may have concerns about, so that you have the opportunity to speak to the people there about your take on the many problems of China and how you are helping to lead them to democracy, freedom and the American Dream.
Lim Teck Ghee is a public policy analyst.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.
Pelosi’s update from Singapore (unedited):
Pelosi Statement on Congressional Delegation Visit to Singapore
AUGUST 1, 2022
Singapore – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the Congressional delegation’s visit to Singapore:
“Our Congressional delegation traveled to Singapore to reaffirm our strong partnership with an important ally and friend. In bilateral meetings with key government leaders, we focused on how our nations can continue working together on security and stability, economic growth and trade, and values-based governance.
“Our delegation began with a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, where we discussed our ongoing collaboration to uphold and strengthen a rules-based international order. We also discussed key issues related to trade and business investment. This meeting follows Prime Minister Lee’s two visits to the United States Capitol this year, most recently for President Biden’s ASEAN Special Leaders Summit in May.
“At the Istana, the Office of the President, we were honored to be received by the President of Singapore Halimah Yacob. We saluted her trailblazing public service as Singapore’s first woman president and first woman Speaker of the Parliament and expressed our gratitude for her nation’s hospitality toward the valiant U.S. Servicemembers stationed in Singapore. Our conversation focused on the U.S.-Singapore alliance, including in promoting security in the region, responding to the pandemic and combating the climate crisis. The discussion was distinguished with special attention on the advancement of women in our society.
“Our delegation had the privilege of meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong at the Finance Ministry. We discussed how our nations can continue to work together to advance security, prosperity and opportunity – for families on both sides of the Pacific.
“We also met with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Our discussion focused on strategic investment in our nations’ people to address inequity and advance economic growth. We also discussed efforts to advance partnerships with Singapore and other ASEAN partners to advance regional security, prosperity and governance.
“Our Congressional delegation met with Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean. As our Members saluted Singapore’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and efforts to advance security and stability in the region, the Minister gave us a clear report on Singapore’s efforts to address the climate crisis as a country that was susceptible to rising sea levels.
“We engaged with leaders of the business community and underscored the importance of public-private sector collaboration to foster strong economic growth across the region. We asked for their support for the LGBTQ community in Singapore, as more American businesses are establishing and adding offices in Singapore.
“As we continue our regional travel, we look forward to additional engagement with our partner nations to advance a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific.”
NYT opinion: It is a measure of our (US) political dysfunction that a Democratic president cannot deter a Democratic House speaker from engaging in a diplomatic maneuver that his entire national security team — from the C.I.A. director to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs — deemed unwise.