Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan has dominated headlines. She’s the first U.S. House Speaker to visit the self-governing island in more than a quarter of a century. While China warned of a “strong and resolute” military response to Pelosi’s visit, the speaker did talk about our nation’s commitment to the island and her speech.
“Our solidarity with you is more important than ever as you defend Taiwan and your freedom,” Pelosi said.
Columnist, author and lawyer Gordon Chang joined “Morning in America” to discussion the impact of Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan and answer questions from NewsNation viewer Jordan Scanlan, an active duty Army infantry officer from Georgia.
Q: What are these drills China is conducting in response of Pelosi’s trip? Why are these drill so significant? Do these drills signal a true China-Taiwan conflict?
Chang: Well, first of all, what they show is there are six of these live fire exclusion areas they surround Taiwan. And that suggests Beijing is actively exercising to impose an embargo in the future. And one of these exclusion zones is so close to Taiwan, that it actually impinges on Taiwan’s international water and airspace — a significant provocation. That’s the one in the south.
I think it is important going forward because it shows that China, of course, is going to use military means. And it means the United States needs to prepare. There are a number of things that we can do, and we have been given the warning. So, we should get going.
Viewer Question: Given the circumstances in Ukraine and the way that the “Western nations” kind of behaved in response to the invasion of Ukraine, how do we see our role in the potential of that exact same situation playing out between China and Taiwan?
Chang: The United States needs to be clearer in stating that we will defend Taiwan, and we have to be clear in our actions.
The one thing that Beijing took away from the invasion of Ukraine is that the United States, the 27 nations of the European Union and Great Britain, the coalition that faced Russia, is far stronger than the Russian Federation. And yet, Russia was not deterred.
I think Beijing sees disarray in the West, and there believes it could take advantage of it. So I believe that it’s incumbent on President Biden, if he wants to stop the beginning of World War III, to actually say, We will defend Taiwan, we’ll put some munitions on the island, we may even put some troops. We recognize Taiwan, as Taiwan if they want it. And it’s important for us to say to China, don’t even think about it.
Q: Is World War III something that we certainly need to be realistic about?
Chang: I certainly think we do. First of all, we can see China, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Algeria and friends of Russia take advantage of the situation and move against their adversaries. That means conflict at both ends of the Eurasian landmass, and in North Africa, and other places as well.
We have a situation right now, which is very similar to 1914. In that, in 1914, it was very difficult for national leaders to manage it because nobody knew who was going to be on whose side. And right now because of just the way the world is set up, we could see the same thing: that China could miscalculate.
I believe that if China were to invade Taiwan, it would face a coalition of nations opposing it militarily, but we don’t really know. And China doesn’t really know. And we have this policy of strategic ambiguity, which means that nobody really knows what’s going to happen. That’s 1914.
Viewer Question: What are our three biggest immediate economic impacts that we as Americans would feel if we were to engage directly in a conflict between us and China, with regards to their potential invasion of Taiwan, or our presence in Taiwan?
Chang: First of all, the business community around the world is not really taking geopolitical risk as seriously as it should. So any minor conflict, I think would surprise people in boardrooms and on Wall Street. And that, of course, would affect the global economy.
You will also have food now being in short supply in certain countries because of the war in Ukraine that has the Black Sea ports being blocked. And I don’t believe that the Black Sea, the Russia-Ukraine agreement is going to hold.
But the other thing we have to remember is that, if there is going to be conflict in Asia, the skies and the seas over the Pacific just are not going to be safe. We’re not going to have commerce. There’s one company in Taiwan, a semiconductor manufacturing company that accounts for 92% of the world’s made-to-order semiconductors. Those are the most sophisticated ones. Basically, we’re going to have a world without phones, a world without weapons, a world without everything, because everything these days has a computer chip in it.