There are “smarter ways” to help Taiwan vs US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island, former Singapore Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Bilahari Kausikan told CNBC.
This move could undermine efforts by the US and other countries to support Taiwan in the future and complicate Taiwan’s political relationship with Chinahe told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Friday.
“I think Taiwan needs support and deserves support but does this achieve anything worthwhile? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it has made things worse.” Kausikan said.
Ignore weeks of warnings from Beijing, Pelosi visited Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday. Taiwan is a self-governing democracy, but Beijing considers the island a breakaway province and says it has no right to conduct foreign relations.
Pelosi’s visit makes her the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
China launches military drills over the airspace and waters surrounding Taiwan the next day. On Friday, Beijing announced sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family members, though the contents of those sanctions were not specified.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), left, poses for a photo with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the presidential office on August 3, 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan .
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“What Taiwan needs are certain capabilities … what Taiwan needs is diplomatic support. What Taiwan doesn’t need is a visit, that can bring you a moment of joy. … and then, can prevent other countries from visiting Taiwan, if they look at Kausikan said China’s strong reaction.
He said whether this visit is good or bad for Taiwan remains “an open question”. “There are other ways, smarter ways, less risky ways to give Taiwan the support it needs and deserves.”
Kausikan said the visit could upset the status quo in the region and that it caused China to react in a “semi-aggressive” manner, adding that it “gives China an excuse” to fire missiles at. near Taiwan.
However, the diplomat still insists that a conflict between China and Taiwan is unlikely.
China is not eager to attack Taiwan, he said, and the broad military consensus holds that China is not yet capable of conducting a full-scale “landing” military operation.
“And don’t forget, for all the ambiguity that China put out before – during and after the visit – it still doesn’t stop the visit,” Kausikan said.
But accidents happen and they have happened in the past, he added.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says those are potentially the most worrying accidents.
While there is no immediate possibility of war, Rudd is concerned that China may see Pelosi’s visit as a step back by the United States from the 1982 agreement to recognize the “one China policy.” .
“Then I think we’re in a whole new world,” he said on CNBC’s “Capital Connection.”
“You have an increasingly difficult, fractured relationship between the two countries,” he said. “It’s simply taking a match to light a fire, then the flame will ignite more or less.”
“That’s what I care about – not tomorrow, not next month, but certainly in the years to come, especially [Chinese President] Xi Jinping is likely to be re-elected or re-appointed.”
However, a war cannot be completely ruled out, especially as US-China relations are unlikely to recover over the next decade, Rudd said.