US' 'Taiwan card' threatens peace in Asia-Pacific
Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen's recent "transit" through the United States on her way to Guatemala and Belize in Central America is a serious violation of the one-China principle, especially because during her "transit", she met with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who provided a platform for her to make "pro-independence" statements.
The Joe Biden administration's decision to allow Tsai to "transit" through the US is a provocation to Beijing. It also exposes the US' collusion with "Taiwan independence" forces.
The Taiwan question is not an international issue but China's internal affair. It's a matter of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is a question of respecting the sovereignty of all countries as per the international rules established after the end of World War II.
Yet some Western powers have been using the ploy of "democracy" to support the "Taiwan independence" forces and, by doing so, undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the Asia-Pacific region.
First, the US continues to stimulate the "Taiwan independence" fantasy and instigate separatists on the island to intensify their activities. As a result, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party officials have ignored the importance of cross-Straits relations for Taiwan society. And the Tsai administration has taken advantage of this situation to promote the "two-state theory", which is a gross violation of the legal and factual basis of both sides of the Straits belonging to one China.
Politicians in Washington are making desperate efforts to contain Beijing by hollowing out the one-China principle, in order to maintain the US' strategic hegemony. In recent years, DPP officials have been increasingly fantasizing about "Taiwan independence" because the US has been building castles in the air to lure them into its trap. Lai Ching-te, a DPP politician, is expected to use US support to promote more "Taiwan independence" rhetoric and policies for electoral gain in the island in 2024.
Second, the US has been trying to turn the Taiwan question, an internal matter of China, into an international issue, and challenge the one-China principle that is recognized by the international community, including the United Nations.
Taiwan has no international legal status other than being a part of China. It does not have a national identity or rights. Despite that, the Tsai administration refuses to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China and Taiwan is an integral part of China and, instead, has been using the island's geopolitical, economic and institutional importance to strengthen ties with the US, Japan and European countries in a bid to seek "independence".
That the US allowed Tsai to make "stopovers" in New York and Los Angles is evidence of its support to her pursuit of "Taiwan independence" and attempt to change the international community's understanding of the Taiwan question. Tsai made stopovers in the two US cities, because in travel industry parlance, "stopover" means staying at least one night in a place and leaving the next day while transit means just changing planes at an airport, and that is exactly what Tsai did on her way to and from Central America.
Third, the US is arming Taiwan and, in the process, turning it into a powder keg. Since Washington cannot prevent Beijing's economic, technological and military strength from increasing, it has intensified its arms sales to Taiwan to check Beijing's growth and heighten tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.
McCarthy and Tsai apparently discussed how to accelerate US arms sales to Taiwan. Also, during his visit to Taiwan in April, Congressman Michael McCaul advocated "strengthening" the island through joint military training and promoting third-party sales of weapons. It is clear that Washington is ramping up efforts to promote its "Taiwan porcupine strategy", egging Taiwan to use military means to seek "independence" despite the fact that it could deal a serious blow to regional peace and stability and cause severe damage to the island.
China has sufficient legal and legitimate grounds to appropriately respond to these provocations.
In fact, Beijing has announced sanctions against the "Prospect Foundation" and the "Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats" in Taiwan, and taken countermeasures against the Hudson Institute, the Reagan Library, and their executives under the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law.
It also launched a special joint patrol and inspection operation in the north-central waters of the Taiwan Straits on April 5 and organized a "Joint Sword" exercise in the waters and airspace around the island from April 8 to 10. These actions are necessary to deter the US and the DPP authorities from changing the status quo and destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region.
The Taiwan question is at the core of China's core interests and is the first red line that cannot be crossed in Sino-US relations.
The collusion between Washington and Taipei against Beijing will only push the island into a dangerous situation, harming the interests of both the island and the Asia-Pacific region. However, Taiwan society is becoming increasingly wary of the US' destructive policies and suspicions about its motives.
Former Kuomintang head and Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, during his recent visit to the Chinese mainland, advocated adhering to the 1992 Consensus and restoring cross-Straits peace through talks. His views have been supported and welcomed by many Taiwan compatriots.
The situation across the Straits is becoming increasingly complex and increasingly tense. As such, Taiwan society should carefully consider its path forward and always keep in mind that the pursuit of peaceful development is the best way forward. As for the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, they should recognize the serious harm the US has been causing by playing the "Taiwan card" and using "Taiwan independence" to undermine regional peace.
The author is a researcher at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.