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US-China relations: tensions almost certain to increase following Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

Key points
  • US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan on 2 August, addressing the Taiwanese parliament, meeting with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, and becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit the island since 1997.
  • The Chinese government strongly condemned the visit, accusing the US of “hollowing-up” the One China principle and the foundations of US-China relations, and launching a series of retaliatory measures against Taiwan that are highly likely to develop further in the coming months.
  • The visit added tension to US-China relations, and is likely to negatively affect co-operation between the two countries and worsen Taiwan's security environment as China's response and Taiwan's countermeasures increase the risk of an accident leading to military escalation.

On 2 August, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan, becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit Taipei since then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997. Pelosi addressed the Taiwanese parliament and met with President Tsai Ing-wen, reiterating US support for Taiwan's security and democracy, and stating that solidarity with the Taiwanese people is “crucial”. In response, China, which claims Taiwan as one of its provinces and had voiced its strong opposition to the trip through several stern warnings in previous days, approved a series of trade bans against Taiwan and launched military drills in the waters surrounding the island, accusing the US government of jeopardising US-China relations and cross-strait security.

Chinese perceptions of Pelosi's visit and US-China relations

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