China’s just stance on Taiwan and US manoeuvrings | By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan

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China’s just stance on Taiwan and US manoeuvrings

RUSSIA-Ukraine war has serious geopolitical and geostrategic spill-over repercussions due to which Taiwan has now become new flashpoint in the world.

The policy makers and US leadership tried to avail a chance to further enclave China by selling arms, so-called diplomatic support and proposed visits to Taiwan.

Most recent alleged and unconfirmed reports of a trip to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have immediately prompted a diplomatic protest from Beijing, which says it will take “resolute and forceful measures” if the visit goes ahead.

In this connection, neither Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry nor Pelosi’s office have confirmed the reports.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry immediately responded and took serious notice and considered the visit as serious dangerous having multiplier consequences and Washington’s hardening line on Beijing amid the Ukraine crisis.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged Washington to stay away from internal matters of China and stick to its one-China policy and said Beijing firmly opposed any form of official exchange between the US and Taiwan.

He termed that proposed visit of Pelosi to Taiwan will “seriously contravene China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously undermine the political foundation of Sino-US relations, and send a totally wrong message to separatist forces promoting Taiwan independence.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao said China had lodged solemn representations with the US and urged Washington to “immediately cancel” the trip.

Responding to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comment that Washington was ready to use all its sanctions tools against China if Beijing moved aggressively towards Taiwan, Zhao said it was an “internal affair and no other countries have the right to interfere”.

Interestingly, Taiwanese foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou declined to confirm or deny Pelosi’s trip, but said Taipei would continue to invite US officials to visit the island.

It seems that Beijing’s immediate response underlined the impact of such a visit on US-China ties, which are at their lowest point in decades over issues ranging from Hong Kong and Xinjiang to the South China Sea and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

It fears that it would also add to tensions across the Taiwan Strait. In a video meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping told US leader Joe Biden last month that “mishandling of the Taiwan question will have a disruptive impact on bilateral ties.

Zhu shared that a proposed trip by Pelosi was “not surprising” at a time when Washington was framing the US-China rivalry as a “battle between democracy and autocracy” including in light of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, which Beijing has refused to condemn.

It is indeed a challenge to Beijing’s “red line” on Taiwan. It seems that Washington intentionally proposed this visit which showed its salami-slicing tactics on Taiwan in recent years trying to force a showdown with Beijing and stir up regional conflict to maintain the US global hegemony.

Unfortunately, Washington has moved closer to Taiwan in recent years, including through arms deals and more high-level official exchanges, angering Beijing which has stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on the island.

Beijing was also furious when Taiwan was invited to US President Joe Biden’s democracy summit in December, while representatives from mainland China were excluded.

Now some political sanity has ultimately prevailed and the proposed visit of Pelosi to Taiwan has been postponed by announcing her test positive.

It could be a decent step back. Moreover, China has lodged stern representations with the USA after Washington approved a potential sale to the Taiwan region of equipment, training and other items valued at up to $95 million.

According to the Chinese Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Tan Kefei the arms sale from the U.S. to Taiwan grossly interfered with China’s internal affairs, severely damaged China’s sovereignty and security interests, and undermined the China-U. S. military relations and the peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.

To conclude, the recent but constant US unfriendly schemes against China have serious ramifications.

It would derail China-US cooperation on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Iranian nuclear deal, Korean Peninsula issue, climate change, and world economic recovery, as well as preventing a global financial crisis and food crisis, will be interrupted.

The US decision-makers especially hawks need to understand that their provocations will achieve nothing but make China more resolute towards the Taiwan question.

The policy makers of US should understand that Taiwan question and the Ukraine crisis being entirely different in nature, thus Biden administration should avoid any kind of diplomatic manoeuvring and misadventure.

It seems that the US keeps Europe close to Washington by stirring up the Ukraine crisis and playing up Russian threats.

It also fans the flames on the Taiwan question and plays up the ‘China threat’ to advance its Indo-Pacific Strategy.

According to a statement released by US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) the arms sale to Taiwan will include “training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance, and sustainment of the Patriot system, associated equipment, and logistics support elements,” as well as ground support equipment and spare parts.

The proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests, and will also help improve the security of the recipient.

DSCA noticed that it is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US (TECRO) which made the request, a move which some analysts said “puts the onus on the Taiwan authority” and avoids pissing off the Chinese mainland too much.

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the sale seriously violates the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, undermines China’s sovereignty and security and development interests, and seriously undermines China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.

It seems that like the Ukraine crisis, US politicians and arm dealers also attempt to stir up regional conflict and create hot spots near the Taiwan Straits, and wantonly sell more weapons to the Taiwan authority, including upgrading and maintaining costs to fill their pockets.

During the recently held video meeting, Biden has reiterated to Chinese president Xi that the US does not seek to have a new cold war with China, to change China’s system, or to revitalize alliances against China, and that the US does not support “Taiwan independence” or intend to seek a conflict with China.

Let us hope that US will stick to this statement. It seems that world’s security architecture has been further redefined, redrafted and reshaped after the beginning of Russia-Ukraine war.

Thus there is an urgent need to jointly work for de-escalation, restrain, conflict resolution and give diplomacy and dialogue a chance in the world in which Chinese president Xi global development initiative, common prosperity, community development, formation of unilateralism would play an important role.

—The writer is Director, the Centre for South Asia & International Studies Islamabad & regional expert, China, CPEC & BRI.

 

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