James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit an 'irresponsible mistake' chasing 'publicity', says ex-US Ambassador to China
6 August 2022, 12:42
The former US ambassador to China Max Baucus has said the visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan was "irresponsible" and for personal "publicity".
Beijing officials warned that Ms Pelosi's landmark trip to the island nation, which China claims is its own, was "extremely dangerous".
The Chinese government said in a statement that "those who play with fire will perish by it", adding that its army will carry out live-fire exercises. Taiwan said on Tuesday evening that Chinese aircraft had entered its airspace.
Matt Frei asked the former ambassador: "Did you approve of Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan?"
Mr Baucus said: "I did not. I thought it was ill-advised frankly, even to the point of being irresponsible. The point of view as foreign policy should be to reduce tension between the United States and China, not to increase tension.
"And I think her visit clearly increased tension in the relationship, a relationship that's already fraught with difficulties and problems. It was a mistake.
"I think the White House discouraged her from going but she wanted to go anyway, and there's no reason for her to go, that is, there's no foreign policy reason to go, because Taiwan knows and China knows US position in respect to Taiwan anyway.
"It was a mistake and I wish it had not happened."
Asked whether the visit was linked to the midterm elections, Mr Baucus said: "No I don't, I think this was all Nancy Pelosi. She is the speaker. She has been speaker for a long time, she has enjoyed that position. She is probably not going to be speaker after the election this November when Republicans probably will be the majority party in the House of Representatives.
"So this is her opportunity, it's kind of a grand, glorious, exit as speaker. Doing something she cares a lot about, and that's human rights. She's a human rights hawk and she does not like China, and it's an opportunity for her to make that statement by going to Taiwan and getting all that publicity."