The US is playing with fire by using Taiwan to contain China

China Plus Published: 2019-07-10 06:13:20
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Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".

The US State Department has approved arms sales to Taiwan worth 2.22 billion US dollars. This constitutes flagrant interference in China’s internal affairs, and the US is playing with fire!

The US act is a serious violation of the three Sino-US joint communiques that govern diplomatic ties between Beijing and Washington that were established in 1979. In the documents, the US recognizes the One China principle, namely that Taiwan is part of China, and agrees to gradually reduce its arms sales to the island.

College students from Shandong Province and Taiwan attend a summer camp in July 2017 to experience the local culture in Shandong and promote Cross-Straits friendship and cultural exchanges. [Photo: IC]

College students from Shandong Province and Taiwan attend a summer camp in July 2017 to experience the local culture in Shandong and promote Cross-Straits friendship and cultural exchanges. [Photo: IC]

However, the US has not honored its commitments and has provided military support to Taiwan by citing the Taiwan Relations Act that was adopted in 1979. Since the Trump administration took office two and half years ago, it has sold weapons to Taiwan on four occasions. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed by both the House and the Senate, allows US officials at all levels to visit Taiwan and the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019, passed by the House, gives the green light to regular sales of arms to Taiwan.

This series of acts of the US government show that some US forces have been sitting on pins and needles when learning about the development of China. Weapons sales to Taiwan not only satisfy the demand of arms dealers, but, more importantly, are being used as a card by some US politicians to contain China.

However, such a strategy will not be successful. Though some forces in Taiwan confront the Chinese mainland by relying on the backing of the US, they will not be able to resist the tide of economic globalization and the will of the general public. The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have formed close industrial and supply chains, with the former being the latter’s largest trading partner, market and investment destination. In 2018, total trade volume between the two sides exceeded 200 billion US dollars and more than 4 million trips from Taiwan to the mainland were made. With the ever deepening convergence, people in Taiwan have an ever stronger feeling of benefiting from cross-Strait integration.

Some media in Taiwan have wisely pointed out that the US has used the Taiwan issue as a bargaining chip in its dealings with China and that it is naïve to believe that Taiwan can secure development and stability simply by relying on the US. Thanks to its 40 years of fast-paced development, the mainland has created better conditions to push forward peaceful reunification with Taiwan. That’s why some now concede that Beijing has seized the initiative in guiding or controlling the course of relations between the two sides.

At the same time, the One-China principle has gained popularity in the international community, as more and more of Taiwan’s “friendly countries” have severed “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan, and in turn have established or restored official relations with the Chinese mainland.

When President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump met in Osaka, Japan in late June, the two countries pledged to promote bilateral ties characterized by coordination, cooperation and stability and agreed to restart trade talks on the basis of equality and mutual respect. However, the presidential consensus has been violated by the new US arms sales to Taiwan, which not only risks undermining peace along the Taiwan Strait, but also does no good to the settlement of US-China frictions.

US Abrams tanks or Stinger missiles will not guarantee the security of Taiwan. The future of the island lies in reunification with the Chinese mainland. No outside force shall underestimate the resolve of China to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.