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Xi faces dilemma as satisfying nationalist sentiment may have economic costs

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August 08, 2022 00:59 IS

beijing [China]Aug 08 (ANI): As tensions simmer in the Taiwan Strait, Chinese President Xi Jinping faces a daunting challenge as his response to the situation is not just about responding to Chinese nationalist sentiments ahead of his third term, but also to manage the economic costs and the diplomatic fallout with the United States, according to the media.
Xi continues to struggle to find a way to handle the recent visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which angered China. It’s a politically sensitive time for Xi as he faces a fast approaching 20th party congress. He wants to show the Chinese people that China remains resolute in dealing with the tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
China’s display of military power will have repercussions and Xi must ensure he is able to combat them effectively without harming China’s economy, Al Jazeera reported. The Chinese economy is already showing negative trends and in this context, every step taken by Xi will have to be measured with caution.
Stephen Nagy, a Tokyo-based China analyst and senior fellow at Canada’s MacDonald-Laurier Institute, told Al Jazeera: “This puts him (Xi) in an impossible position.”
“He must maintain economic growth, which would be severely hampered by any kinetic response in the United States and the growing international recognition of Taiwan as a political entity,” Nagy said.

“Yet he is under enormous pressure from nationalist forces inside China, who expect a strong response to what they understand to be a clear violation of the ‘one China policy’. … I doubt he can find that balance.”
Following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China conducted live-fire drills and staged its largest-ever military drills in the waters around Taiwan.
The conduct of military exercises has not been the only action taken by the Chinese authorities, in order to cripple Taiwan’s economy, they are adopting Cold War tactics. They banned imports of more than 2,000 Taiwanese food items and halted sand exports to Taiwan. Additionally, this week, Taiwanese government websites were hit by overseas cyberattacks.
“It’s not over yet,” Nagy said. “I expect more provocative military activities from China in the coming months…we can also expect more cyberattacks, restrictions on Taiwanese companies operating in China, and even secondary sanctions for increase the pressure on Taiwan’s friends.”
During Pelosi’s visit, Chinese state media also took over social media platforms and spread nationalistic hashtags about China’s “reunification” with Taiwan.
These posts have generated several billion views on the Weibo microblogging platform. “It was a truly international event and something that was developing a lot in real time,” Manya Koetse, a veteran Chinese social media analyst and editor-in-chief of WhatsonWeibo, told Al Jazeera. (ANI)

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