Concerned Canada urges China to ‘de-escalate’ tensions with US amid Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

US's Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan's capital Taipei

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Canada’s Foreign minister Melanie Joly said that they are concerned about heightened tensions after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit this week. Ms Pelosi – the most senior US politician to visit in 25 years – departed on Wednesday after meeting leaders in the capital Taipei.

Ms Joly called on China to de-escalate the situation, after Beijing furiously said: “Those who offend China will be punished.”

She added: “We think that legislators do visits around the world and clearly the visit cannot be used as a justification for heightened tensions or a pretext.

“So, in that sense we call on China to de-escalate because we think that there may be risks of not only heightened tensions, but also destabilising the region.”

Ms Pelosi’s visit, as part of a wider Asian tour, sparked fury in Beijing after she ignored its warnings not to travel to the island.

Accusing the US of “violating China’s sovereignty under the guise of so-called democracy”, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “Those who play with fire will not come to a good end and those who offend China will be punished.”

In a statement following the visit, Ms Pelosi said China cannot “prevent world leaders or anyone from travelling to Taiwan to pay respect to its flourishing democracy, to highlight its many successes and to reaffirm our commitment to continued collaboration”.

The senior US Democrat’s visit was not approved by her party colleague, President Joe Biden, who had said the American military felt it was “not a good idea right now” amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

The US walks a diplomatic tightrope with its Taiwan policy.

On the one hand, it abides by the “One China” policy, which recognises only one Chinese government, giving it formal ties with Beijing and not Taiwan.

On the other, it maintains a “robust unofficial” relationship with the island, which includes selling weapons for Taiwan to defend itself.

As speaker of the US House of Representatives, Ms Pelosi is second in line to the US presidency, behind Vice-President Kamala Harris.

Taiwan is self-ruled – but China sees it as a breakaway province that will eventually unite with it.

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Since Xi Jinping became China’s president in 2012, he has become increasingly determined to achieve so-called “global dominance” by a deadline of 2049 – 100 years after Communist Party rule began.

As a result, the US and other Western nations have responded by toughening their stances on China.

Examples of this include the AUKUS trade deal between Australia, the UK and the US, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Japan, Australia, India and the US.

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