The Background of Newt Gingrich in 1997


“I told them we will defend Taiwan. Place. What struck me is that we never talked about it,” the former president of the US Congress recalls of his meeting with the Chinese government that year when he also visited Taipei.

The antecedent of a crisis like the one now unleashed between China and the United States by Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan can be found in 1997. Newt Gingrich, then president of the American Chamber, traveled to Taipei that spring for a visit that also involved Pelosi. and Tokyo to strengthen the White House’s ties with Asia. In part, it was a pre-tour operation that Bill Clinton would perform in the region a year later, albeit without touching the island.

Long negotiations were needed to organize the itinerary. The Asian giant also protested what it viewed as US interference in a sovereignty conflict between China and Taiwan. Only this time the rhetoric and display of power were much more subdued. Neither Beijing nor Washington activated their fleets in the area, nor did the two world powers show the current bitterness. But it is true that China does not forget. In the heat of Pelosi’s arrival on the island, the permanent ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, has claimed that “one mistake before makes the next mistake illegitimate”.

Gingrich himself, a staunch Republican now keeping quiet, has spoken out about the growing controversy. He has assured several media outlets that, because of his experience, Xi Jinping’s government is “bluffing” and that his statements are a “bluff”. Still, the politician and essayist acknowledges his concerns about events such as China’s naval maneuvers against Taiwan this Thursday, its air patrols over the island and the proclamations of a fanatic commentator demanding a military response. “That would literally be an act of war, and we would have no choice but to retaliate en masse,” Gingrich warned on Fox News.

The differences between one tour and the other are notorious. Despite its political connotations, Washington staged a mission of high economic weight in 1997, returning from it with contracts to the aerospace and automotive industries. That role was primarily filled by Vice President Al Gore. Perhaps the most defining evidence is the image of Gore toasting champagne with Li Peng, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, between 1987 and 1998. The active environmentalist has already visited Taipei outside of politics.

The contextualization of his journey had different connotations from those of the conservative Congressional leader. Bill Clinton’s “second” was on an Asian tour parallel to Newt Gingrich’s, but he didn’t stop in Taiwan. And he had other issues to deal with: This was the first time since George Bush in 1989 that a White House senior representative visited China (the tour included Japan and South Korea), albeit at the worst possible time. . The vice president faced suspicions that Beijing had made financial contributions to the Democratic Party and several congressmen to influence US policy.

Though that’s a different story.

Gingrich had his own diplomatic mission and, unlike Pelosi’s, tactfully designed not to raise eyebrows. The US and China agreed that the conservative politician would stay in the capital for three days and that instead of traveling directly to Taipei for a more punctual stay, he would make an earlier stopover in Japan to emphasize that it was a regional tour. was not a journey between two conflicting areas. Gingrich was also much further removed from his current position (months ago he called the Chinese government a “terrorist”), or from what his successor might have. For him, who praised China’s economic capabilities, the most important thing was to treat the Asian giant with “constant pressure, constant friendship and constant dialogue.”

In view of what is happening today, the exuberance of those three days in Beijing, where the leader of the US Congress even met a group of university students and praised seeing them in jeans because the way they dress allows the ability of freedom reveals”. Chinese President Jiang Zemin assured that relations between the two countries were experiencing a phase of “sun after rain”. Gingrich, for his part, congratulated himself on managing the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to the Chinese government and said it treated the former British colony like an orchid, an unfortunate metaphor given the authoritarianism Hong Kongers now experience.

Another striking fact is that the US envoy, without raising the alarm, was highly critical of the Asian giant’s authorities over Taiwan’s independence. “I told them we will defend Taiwan. Place. What caught my attention is that we never talked about it,” Gingrich told US media today.

One of the differences between the two visits may be that China increased its pressure to assume the island’s sovereignty to perhaps turn it into a state crusade of sorts, and that in 1997 Clinton was much more cautious than his party colleague Joe Biden. The current US president has not spared sharp criticism of Beijing since the start of his term, and on this occasion there are already voices who believe that Washington’s traditional “strategic ambiguity” regarding the Asian territorial conflict has been too tense. Russia and North Korea have already accused him of destabilizing the region, which could lead to another global crisis, in its bid to remove China as its main economic and commercial rival.

Gingrich, the stern Republican politician popular in recent decades for his dissenting statements, ethical issues and extramarital controversy, temporarily withdrew from the public eye two years after that trip. He ran his own company, American Solutions, advised other conservative leaders and wrote books. Gingrich, co-author of the famous 1994 “Contract with America,” was an architect of the roller coaster ride that Republicans experienced during the Clinton administration and was responsible for both the rise and the weakening of conservatives in the last decade of the decade. the previous century. In 2012, he lost the race for the nomination as a candidate for the presidential election.

Source: La Verdad


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