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Assessment of Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit in the Context of Indo-Pacific Strategy of the US

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The visit of Nancy Pelosi, President of the House of Representatives of the United States of America (US) to the Taiwanese Parliament on August 2, 2022, have caused important discussions. In particular, the US, which is faced with a great reaction from China, is trying to lead the process to a different point.

It would not be the right approach to consider Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan independent from the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the US. The US is concerned about the Washington administration’s ongoing struggle for hegemonic supremacy over the international system with the newly rising China, and the predictions that China will shake the hegemony of the US in the international system by the 2030s. It is known that the Belt-Road Initiative announced by China in 2013 is the country’s most important tool for establishing its economic leadership. Therefore, the US aims to take measures against the initiative and maintain its global hegemony as long as possible. For this reason, the US withdraws in a controlled manner from many regions of the world and directs all its power towards policies regarding China. In addition, the US strives to maintain its influence by using proxy forces in the regions where it is withdrawn from. This preference is clearly observed in Syria and Afghanistan.

The US, which withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, managed to create a chaotic environment in the country. The Taliban’s administrational take over was not recognized as a legitimate government by any country, resulting in a situation that served the US’s regional chaos plans. As a matter of fact, the power vacuum and the political turmoil that emerged after the withdrawal of the US from the country have deeply been affecting all countries in the region, especially Russia and China.

The Ukrainian War started by Russia on February 24, 2022, brought Moscow’s power to a single point, resulting in a lack of energy to deal with the situation in Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, this situation catalyzes the US’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region. In this context, one of the reasons behind the US’s intense support for Ukraine against Russia is to limit the support provided to China in the Asia-Pacific region.

As it is known, the fact that the US made alliance agreements with the countries of the region in 2021 within the framework of its Indo-Pacific strategy brought along some discourses about the birth of a NATO-like system in the Asia-Pacific region. The US, aiming to increase its influence in the region particularly with alliances such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) and AUKUS, also aims to improve its bilateral and multiple relations with the countries of the region.

In addition, it is seen that the Washington administration, which is trying to take measures against the rise of China, wants to destabilize the Belt-Road Initiative accordingly. Therefore, China is aware of the US’s moves and its desire to capture China. For this reason, Beijing reacted strongly to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. In this regard, China tried to intimidate Taiwan by organizing a military exercise and protested Pelosi’s visit by inviting US’s Ambassador to Beijing Nicholas Burns to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Following Pelosi’s announcement that she would visit Taiwan, China’s harsh rhetoric was considered an attempt to prevent the visit. Whereas the Beijing administration could not prevent this visit, it managed to create an area for political activity by warding off provocations by the US. Zhang Hanhui, China’s Ambassador to Moscow, emphasized that the US was trying to implement a similar way in Taiwan to that in Ukraine, which he regarded to be mainly provoked by the US.[1] This clearly shows that the Beijing administration has analyzed the US’s role in Ukraine well and is well aware of the political move that is trying to be implemented towards China through Taiwan. The fact that China did not take concrete steps after Pelosi’s visit despite its previous harsh rhetoric gave the impression that its effectiveness in the international system could be shaken. However, it seems that China has analyzed the intention of the US well and has chosen to act moderately.

As a result, the US aims to be rapidly involved in the Asia-Pacific region, to create regional actors acting in accordance with itself, and to develop bilateral and multiple relations with these states. In doing so, it should be noted that US’s primary purpose is to preserve its hegemonic power in the international system. For this reason, the US aims to capture China and destabilize the Belt-Road Initiative, which is expected to create an opportunity for China to become an economic giant. In this direction, it tries to revive the dynamics of the region and create unstable structures by aggravating the regional problems, and undermine the rise of China this way. Given that Taiwan is a sensitive issue for China, it can be said that Pelosi’s move is part of the strategy to strengthen American leadership by stirring up crises.

[1]“Chinese ambassador warns of Nato expansion eastward into Asia”, Morning Star, https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/chinese-ambassador-warns-nato-expansion-eastward-asia, (Date of Accession: 14.08.2022).

Hüseyin YELTİN
Hüseyin Yeltin, Sakarya Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü mezunudur. Yüksek lisans eğitimini de Sakarya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı'nda tamamlayan Yeltin, halihazırda Anadolu Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Siyaset Bilimi ve Uluslararası İlişkiler Bilim Dalı'nda doktora eğitimini sürdürmekte ve ANKASAM'ın çalışmalarına da katkıda bulunmaktadır.