NY10 candidates weigh in on Pelosi’s controversial Taiwan trip

In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, walks with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, as she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night despite threats from Beijing of serious consequences, becoming the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China in 25 years. ( Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made headlines by taking a controversial trip to Taiwan – an independent island nation off the coast of mainland China, which the People’s Republic of China believes should be under its rule. Pelosi visited Taiwan Wednesday, against the wishes of President Joe Biden’s administration, meeting with Taiwanese lawmakers and President Tsai Ing-wen.

After warning that Pelosi’s visit was an affront to China that would come with consequences, the Chinese military fired multiple missiles into the sea off the coast of Taiwan Thursday as part of retaliatory military exercises.

PoliticsNY reached out to the top six candidates in the Congressional District 10 race – City Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan), Attorney Dan Goldman, former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, Assembly Members Jo Anne Simon and Yuh-Line Niou, and U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones – and asked them all the following question: 

What do you think about Speaker Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, considering it’s raised tensions with China? And if elected, what would your stance be toward the China/Taiwan conflict overall?

Carlina Rivera: “Speaker Pelosi has every right to conduct major diplomatic trips to key American allies.”

Dan Goldman: “I am a staunch supporter of democracy around the world, including in Taiwan. Having worked on the House Intelligence Committee, I am the only candidate in the race with a first-hand understanding of the nature and detail of our government’s classified information. Based on this understanding of the intelligence and diplomacy at play in this situation, I would be deferential to the Biden Administration’s assessment of the risks associated with Speaker Pelosi’s visit.”

Elizabeth Holtzman: “The Speaker knows that the State Department does not have the monopoly on wisdom. As a congresswoman I have stood up to the [U.S.] State Department in connection with dealings with foreign countries.  Our government did not want a Congressional delegation of which I was a part to meet with Soviet dissidents and Jewish refuseniks while we were in Russia. We ignored that request. Similarly, when I wanted to travel as chair of the Immigration Subcommittee to Vietnam to deal with the boat people crisis, the State Department not only counseled our delegation against going but refused to allow us to travel in a military plane.  We went anyway, and meetings with the Foreign Minister laid the groundwork for an orderly departure agreement that was concluded between the U.S. and Vietnam which saved many refugee lives.”

Jo Anne Simon: “American leaders are ambassadors of democracy. Speaker Pelosi’ choice to visit Taiwan, a democracy, is in line with America’s foreign policy goals and values. I welcome a partnership with China when it comes to fighting climate change and tackling other global problems, but that partnership can not supersede the bedrock American value of protecting democracies across the globe.” 

Mondaire Jones: “As a member of the House of Representatives, I’ve been a staunch defender of democracy and promoting peace. Speaker Pelosi, who has endorsed my campaign, made it unequivocally clear that this visit does not change longstanding U.S. policy towards Taiwan. China’s escalation of military action and economic pressure in retaliation to this visit is unjustified and a threat to peace. As the only candidate in this race with foreign policy experience, I know for a fact that the U.S. can – and must – take a stand against authoritarianism while avoiding armed conflict. That is why I’ll continue to lead efforts in Congress to not only defend our democracy from hate and fascism here at home, but also promote peace and democracy abroad.”

Yuh-Line Niou: A spokesperson for Niou declined to comment due to her packed schedule.