The Bottom Line

Will China and the US avert a showdown over Taiwan?

Are relations between China and the United States too deep to be affected by the visit of a top US politician to Taiwan?

China announced plans to flex its muscles near Taiwan in response to a visit Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, made to the island.

For China, Taiwan is a breakaway province that must be “reunited” with the mainland. For Taiwanese leaders, it is a sovereign nation that wants to maintain its status quo.

The US policy is called “strategic ambiguity” – supporting Taiwan’s autonomy for now while being cautious not to anger China.

International relations expert Stephen Walt tells Steve Clemons that the interests of Beijing and Washington are too interdependent for either power to risk escalation.