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There are “smarter ways” to support Taiwan than for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit the island, Bilahari Kausikan, former undersecretary at Singapore’s foreign ministry, told CNBC.

The move could undermine efforts by the US and other countries to support Taiwan in the future and has further complicated Taiwan’s political relationship with China, he told CNBC’s Street Signs Asia on Friday.

“I think Taiwan needs support and deserves support, but has this achieved anything worthwhile? I do not think so. In fact, I think it made things worse,” Kausikan said.

Ignoring 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 launched military drills in the airspace and waters around Taiwan the next day. On Friday, Beijing announced sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family members, although the content of those sanctions was not specified.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), left, poses for photos with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the President’s office August 3, 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan.

Handout | Getty Images

“What Taiwan needs is certain skills… what Taiwan needs is diplomatic support. What Taiwan doesn’t need is a visit that can give you a feel-good moment … and then discourage other countries from visiting Taiwan given China’s robust response,” Kausikan said.

Whether the visit was good or bad for Taiwan remains “at least an open question,” he said. “There are many other ways, smarter ways, less risky ways, to give Taiwan the support it needs and deserves.”

Kausikan said the visit could shake up the status quo in the region, prompting China to react “semi-hysterically,” adding that he had “given China an excuse” to launch missiles near Taiwan.

They have an increasingly feverish, fractious relationship between the two countries. It simply takes off a match to ignite a flame, which then more or less catches fire.

Kevin Rudd

Former Australian Prime Minister

Nevertheless, the ex-diplomat maintained that a conflict between China and Taiwan was unlikely.

China is not keen on attacking Taiwan, and broad military consensus has suggested China is not yet ready to launch a full-scale “amphibious” military operation, he said.

“And don’t forget that despite all the turmoil before, during and after the visit, China still hasn’t deterred the visit,” Kausikan said.

But accidents do happen and they have in the past, he added.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the potential accidents were the most worrying.

While an immediate war is not likely, Rudd is concerned that the Chinese may view Pelosi’s visit as a US comeback from their 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.

“They have an increasingly feverish, fractious relationship between the two countries,” he said. “You just take off a match to light a flame, which then more or less catches fire.”

“That’s what I’m worried about – not tomorrow, not next month, but certainly in the years to come, especially when [Chinese President] Xi Jinping is likely to be re-elected or re-appointed.”

However, a full-line war cannot be completely ruled out, especially when US-China relations are unlikely to recover over the next decade, Rudd said.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/06/speaker-pelosis-taiwan-visit-made-things-worse-ex-singapore-diplomat.html Speaker Pelosi’s Taiwan visit made matters worse: ex-Singapore diplomat

Speaker Pelosi’s Taiwan visit made matters worse: ex-Singapore diplomat – World Time Todays

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