Urgent warning to Biden over horror ‘new axis’ of power as Taiwan tensions skyrocket

Alex Marshall says China is not prepared for global conflict

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US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday brought to the surface China’s hostility toward Americans, and Beijing’s irate response to the trip calls into question just how far Xi Jinping’s government might go if Washington ignores its threats.

Xi’s close ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin inevitably suggest the two leaders may share ideology about the West. Iran, in yet another sign of political alignment, is the only country outside the former Soviet Union visited by the Kremlin leader this year.

According to US President Joe Biden, the world is breaking into two blocs — democracy and autocracy — and Ms Pelosi’s trip serves as a reflection of the concept set out by her boss.

The Democrat controversially touched down on Taiwan on Tuesday despite warnings from Beijing, including suggestions that the People’s Liberation Army could take action if the House Speaker went ahead with her planned visit.

After marking the first visit of a US House speaker in a quarter of a century, the veteran congresswoman defended her decision to set foot on the self-ruling island by making reference to Mr Biden’s democracy versus autocracy theory.

The 82-year-old politician said her intention by travelling to Taipei and meeting President Tsai Ing-wen was to make clear American leaders “never give in to autocrats”.

She wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Post: “We cannot stand by as [China] proceeds to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself.”

The piece, published just as her plane landed, continued: “Indeed, we take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”

It added: “We take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.

“As Russia wages its premeditated, illegal war against Ukraine, killing thousands of innocents — even children — it is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats.”

Within days, both China and Russia made stark claims against the US.

Beijing went as far as saying the US will “pay the price” of Ms Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, accusing it of “undermining China’s sovereign security interests”.

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Moscow, meanwhile, said Washington had been “directly involved” in the war in Ukraine by passing on intelligence that had led to the “mass deaths of civilians”.

Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement the US was responsible for rocket attacks by Kyiv on populated areas in the eastern Donbas and in other regions, concluding: “All this undeniably proves that Washington, contrary to White House and Pentagon claims, is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine.”

While the US has proudly provided security assistance to Ukraine, it strongly denies it is a participant in the conflict or is at war with Russia.

Iran, the third of the so-called anti-US axis, has so far refused to re-enter the nuclear pact that former US President Donald Trump cancelled and could at some point take steps to build a nuclear weapon.

Further, it is thought to be all but pleased with the latest sanctions issued on it by the White House o Monday.

The US has this time targeted Chinese and other companies it said were used by one of Iran‘s largest petrochemical brokers to facilitate the sale of tens of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products from Iran to East Asia.

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