New Delhi, August 07:
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last Tuesday has caused tectonic shifts in the Indo-Pacific with Washington’s relations sharpened with China and even Japan and ASEAN countries taking the collateral hit in the process.
A reaction from China, which is already in wolf-warrior mode, on the US-Australia-Japan joint statement on August 5 exemplifies the turmoil caused by Pelosi’s visit and will define relations in the Indo-Pacific. After foreign ministers of three QUAD partners blamed China for escalating military tensions around Taiwan and condemned the landing of PLA missiles in Japanese EEZ, a furious China called the US the biggest saboteur and destabilizer of peace in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest troublemaker to regional stability. While the wolf warrior reaction to the US was on expected lines, Beijing hit out at Japan and reminded Tokyo of its history of colonization and invasion of the Taiwan region. The Xi Jinping regime also reminded Australia that it was also a victim of Japanese fascism and asked it not to take sides with Japan as there has been no maritime delimitation of waters between the two countries and hence the so-called ballistic missiles landing in Japanese EEZ has no legal basis.
The big picture from the Pelosi’s visit and the subsequent ASEAN meeting at Phnom Penh is that US-China relations have taken a turn for the worse as Beijing has taken a serious affront to the House Speaker’s Taipei visit as it seriously undermines the Chinese sovereignty claims over Taiwan.
The relations between Japan and US have also sharpened as Tokyo has been drawn into the theatre by Chinese over the top military actions in Taiwan Straits post Pelosi’s visit. Given the proximity of Senkaku Islands with Taiwan, Japan will have to militarily arm itself as the Chinese wolf warrior mindset is for all to see in the Indo-Pacific.
Such is the clout of China in the region that South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol chose to stay away from physically shaking hands with Pelosi last Thursday despite being in Seoul. The official word was that the South Korean President was on vacation. The Japanese leadership which had no options but to meet Pelosi given its post-world war relations with the US got the stick from China.
The ASEAN countries were shaken out of their stupor and quietly blamed Pelosi for disturbing the status quo over Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. All these so-called Tiger economies are simply reconciled to the military dominance of China in the Indo-Pacific and do not want the US to make life more difficult for them by challenging the clout of Communist Party of China.
India maintained its golden silence over Pelosi’s visit while maintaining its firm military stance against PLA in East Ladakh sector, its neighbors, except Bhutan, parroted the “One China” policy in a terrified response to the US move on Taiwan. This did not come as any surprise to New Delhi as Pakistan owes 21.9 billon USD to China and others are also deep into the debt trap of Beijing particularly Sri Lanka and Myanmar. In fact, the number of countries far and wide that parroted the “One China” policy shows the actual relationship between the Middle-Kingdom and its tributary states.