Pelosi’s Taiwan visit sparks fury

If there’s anything we can learn from Nancy Pelosi’s jaunt to Taiwan–specifically, the criticism surrounding it–it’s that the world is pretty freaked out about China right now. 

What happened: During a brief visit, the US House speaker met with top Taiwanese representatives, including the president and the chairman of the world’s biggest chip maker (TSMC)—friendly chats on growth and trade that were overshadowed by how mad they made Beijing officials.

  • China considers Taiwan, a self-governing island since 1949, Chinese territory and regarded Pelosi’s visit as a challenge to their own sovereignty.
  • China has already banned some fish and fruit imports from Taiwan, and the world’s biggest electric car battery maker has delayed its decision to build a US factory

Yesterday, Pelosi iterated America’s “ironclad” goal to preserve democracy in Taiwan (firing shots at China’s authoritarian form of government) and touched on recently introduced subsidies for companies that open US chip plants, which TSMC is doing in Arizona. 

Why it matters: Rising tensions between the Western world and China leave the global economy vulnerable. TSMC’s Chairman warned that a war with China over Taiwan would threaten to disrupt the geopolitical landscape (read: the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war). 

  • Experts say neither side wants a conflict, plus China is still grappling with a property crisis and slowing economic growth due in part to its strict pandemic lockdowns. 

In Canada: Experts told The Globe and Mail that Canada needs an official strategy for Asia that recognizes the security threat China poses, or it runs the risk of falling from relevance in a part of the world that is expected to be a centre of economic growth.