The United States’ commitment in Taiwan defense and the wolf-warrior response by the Chinese leadership to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taipei visit has made Indo-Pacific a new theatre of war with serious military implications for QUAD countries.
Two months after US President Joseph Biden declared his commitment to militarily defend Taiwan against Chinese invasion, the House Speaker promised an “iron clad” commitment to Taiwan during her historic one day visit to Taipei. The Chinese response was information warfare, as defined by the PLA. In this scenario, the enemy is bombarded with half-truths and deterred through the extrapolated military prowess the Chinese Communist Party via dedicated propaganda media and tweet profiles.
There are upsides to the Chinese threat of retaliation against the US and the over-the-top threats made by Taiwan for allowing the Pelosi visit to go ahead This will make other democratic countries think 100 times before they can have a diplomatic dialogue with Taiwan. Only the US has the military might to call the bluff of China’s Communist Party of China. Europe does not have the ability or desire to confront China, as trade with Beijing is their priority. Another positive for Xi Jinping’s regime is that ASEAN will be reduced to a nonaligned status. This is because none of these countries wants to be mashed in the fight against two mammoths, other than being historical members the chopsticks club. The Forbidden Kingdom did not open its heavy metals doors to the Indonesian President for the visit on July 26.
Russia’s support for Ukraine war support was another plus. It criticizes the US for escalating tensions and sends in Pelosi. Pakistan and other client states also supported Beijing by supporting the “One China” policy, which includes Taiwan as part of the Middle Kingdom.
Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and the arrogant Chinese response have a downside for the Xi Jinping government. It suddenly raises the risk profile and will cause multinational corporations from the US, Europe and Japan to reconsider investing in China. As the military friction between Beijing, Washington and Beijing, which has now been supported by bipartisanship on this crucial issue, increases, capital flight is likely to follow.
Although the news about Nancy Pelosi’s visit was almost blacked out on the Chinese mainland, the Chinese public will be able to see the events unfolding this week and question the gap between the PLA threat that existed before Pelosi visited and the delivery of it on the ground. The manner in which President Xi Jinping handled the whole Pelosi visit will raise questions about his ability and willingness to manage the complicated relationship with the US in future, particularly in the contexts of Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. The fact that Speaker Pelosi did not engage in a Chinese war dance will cause the Communist Party’s pragmaticists to reconsider the need for military confrontation with the US over Taipei. This is not good news for President Xi Jinping, who will be seeking his third term as an eternal leader later in the year.
The US naval armada, including Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the Philippine Sea and Amphibious Assault Ship USS Tripoli, will ensure that the PLA does not escalate tensions around Taiwan. However, it will be able to enact live military drills and fighter plane trespasses around Taiwan in order to please the domestic public. The PLA could use the opportunity to vent its aggression elsewhere, given the military pace that has been set up by the wolf fighters. Japan and India should be alert.