US House Speaker leaves Taiwan after brief visit that cheers Taipei and riles China

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By RFA Staff – Originally published by Radio Free Asia

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Editor’s Note: Center Senior Fellow Grant Newsham was quoted in this piece by Radio Free Asia


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departed Taiwan Wednesday after meeting its president and praising the democratic island’s “resilience” as China voiced anger and state media trumpeted an unprecedented missile barrage and blockade.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen presented Pelosi with a special award on Wednesday, calling her “one of Taiwan’s most devoted friends” who helped strengthen Taiwan-U.S. relations.

Tsai met Pelosi in the morning after the U.S. House Speaker visited the Legislative Yuan, or Taiwan’s parliament. Pelosi praised the island for its success in battling the COVID pandemic and called Taiwan “one of the freest societies in the world.”

Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine colonel turned political analyst, said prior to Nancy Pelosi’s visit he did not expect China to launch attacks on the U.S. or Pelosi herself. But, he said, they could lash out at Taiwan.

“The Chinese Communists are now willing to apply serious pressure–including possible military force–against America’s friends and partners, and dare the United States to respond,” he told RFA.

“That’s what I think we are most likely to see and most likely directed against Taiwan. In other words, making the Americans have to take the ‘first shot’ against the PRC,” added Newsham.

“Taiwan’s government needs to do what is necessary to ensure Taiwan can defend itself,” said the analyst.

“It needs to increase defense spending, show its military some respect and improve terms of service, re-institute national service, create an effective reserve defense force and create an effective civil defense scheme.”

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Nancy Pelosi by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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