Democratic foreign policy experts divided on Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan: ‘good for her,’ ‘not a good idea’

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Democratic foreign policy experts gave contradictory opinions about the wisdom of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., potentially visiting Taiwan next month, with some applauding her and others warning that the trip may provoke Chinese retaliation.

The Financial Times reported earlier this week that Pelosi plans to visit Taiwan in August, after a trip planned for earlier this year was postponed due to her testing positive for COVID-19. 

“I would say good for her,” Michèle Flournoy, who previously served as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama administration, told Fox News Digital at the Aspen Security Forum.

“We need to show Taiwan that we have their backs, that we are committed to support their self-defense, and that we care, and we’re going to show up, and we’re going to try to deter any unprovoked aggression against them,” Flournoy continued. 

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Democratic foreign policy experts divided on Pelosi's trip to Taiwan: 'good for her,' 'not a good idea'

Democrats House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speak at an event. 
(Getty Images)

Joseph Nye, who formerly served as United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, had a different opinion. 

“I think we ought to be careful about not having high-level visitors to Taiwan,” he told Fox News Digital. “What we need to do is deter Beijing from thinking they can use force. But at the same time, we don’t want to stick a finger in Xi Jinping’s eye, and provoke them into making some rash decision.” 

Democratic foreign policy experts divided on Pelosi's trip to Taiwan: 'good for her,' 'not a good idea'

Nye said the United States should be cautious about making Taiwan look “like an independent country,” but rather should support their self-defense capabilities.

“So I would say provide the Taiwanese with the capacity for self-defense,” he said. “Turn them into a porcupine as the saying goes. But don’t keep trying to make them look more like an independent country, because that’s the kind of thing that would make Xi Jinping take a highly risky adventure, and we’d all be the worse off for it.”

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President Biden also criticized the speaker’s reported trip, saying the U.S. military was opposed, giving the story extra media attention over a possible split between two of the Democratic Party’s leaders. 

“Well, I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” Biden said Wednesday when asked about Pelosi’s reported trip. “But I don’t know what the status of it is.”

Democratic foreign policy experts divided on Pelosi's trip to Taiwan: 'good for her,' 'not a good idea'

U.S. President Joe Biden, March 31, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

The Chinese government has also spoken out against the trip, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying the country “will definitely take resolute and forceful measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“The United States must be fully responsible for all the consequences caused by this,” he added.

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The former chief editor of the Chinese Communist Party’s state tabloid, the Global Times, also suggested the country detain and punish Pelosi for visiting Taiwan.

Democratic foreign policy experts divided on Pelosi's trip to Taiwan: 'good for her,' 'not a good idea'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was banned from receiving communion by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Taiwan has declared itself an independent country, but the People’s Republic of China still claims ownership of the island, making it what Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang calls the “most sensitive issue” between the U.S. and China. 

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“The question of Taiwan is the most sensitive, important core issue in China-U.S. relations,” Qin said at the Aspen Security Forum. “China loves the peace people on both sides of Taiwan Strait. Our compatriots.”

Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.

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