There are “more intelligent ways” to support Taiwan than for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have visited the island, former permanent secretary at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bilahari Kausikan told CNBC.
The move could undermine efforts by the U.S. 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 that is worthwhile? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it has made things worse,” Kausikan said.
Ignoring weeks of warnings from Beijing, Pelosi visited Taiwan and met President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday. Taiwan is a self-ruled 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 U.S. 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, though the content of those sanctions was unspecified.
Speaker of the U.S. House Of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), left, poses for photographs with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the president’s office on August 03, 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Handout | Getty Images
“What Taiwan needs is certain capabilities … what Taiwan needs is diplomatic support. What Taiwan does not need is a visit, that may give you a feel-good moment … and after that, may deter other countries from visiting Taiwan, if they look at 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, more intelligent ways, less risky ways of giving Taiwan the support it needs and deserves.”
Kausikan said the visit could upset the status quo in the region and that prompted China to…
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