Obama-era ambassador to China, former Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), warned that the Chinese government would view House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) trip to Taiwan as a “provocation,” adding that it made President Joe Biden look “weak.”
Although Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan wasn’t on her Asia tour itinerary, the House Speaker visited the country on Tuesday (July 2), a decision Baucus took issue with when he appeared in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday evening.
In his appearance, Baucus warned Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was bringing the U.S. closer to recognizing Taiwan as an independent nation, an event that would spell disaster, according to the longtime Senator.
Baucus noted, “This is a provocation because the Chinese government is very opposed to this.”
He added that her trip would likely have repercussions because “she’s Speaker. She’s not just an ordinary member of Congress. Add to that, she’s a very strong hawk. She’s very critical of China.”
Baucus explained, “Really, what this is doing, it’s pushing the support of democracy a little closer to crossing the line into independence. That’s the real problem here.”
Baucus also explained that while Taiwan wouldn’t risk the “disaster” of formally declaring independence from China, China would react if it felt Taiwan was leaning in that direction.
He warned that the U.S. is “playing with fire when we get pretty close to the line, and Pelosi is pushing us much, much closer to recognizing Taiwan as an independent country. And once we get there, we’re going to pay a price.”
Baucus criticized Pelosi for using a “free pass,” given she isn’t the president and wouldn’t have to “worry about conducting foreign policy worldwide.”
Baucus then concluded, “So poor Joe Biden, he looks weak because he either told her not to go and he looks weak to the Chinese guys, or he’s weak because he told her not to go and she went anyway.”