US-China ties have Taiwan at their core – Community News
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US-China ties have Taiwan at their core

On October 31, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome. Chinese state media and netizens went out to dinner after a report that Blinken had entered the hotel where the two met through a side entrance. This was interpreted as an inferior position of the US and subordinate to China.

Reports from the meeting show that the main purpose was to discuss issues related to Taiwan. Wang reportedly warned Blinken that the “Taiwan problem” could topple the US-China relationship and that a top priority for both sides is to make political preparations for the next phase of the China-US relationship.

Blinken reportedly said the US opposes any unilateral action by China that could change the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait and assured Wang that Washington has not changed its “one China” policy.

The language used by the two implies that Beijing has the upper hand and Washington is on the defensive.

As for the relationship between the US and China, Washington sees the issue of climate change as its asset.

The contribution of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to the COP26 was only to send a written statement to the world leaders in attendance. US President Joe Biden expressed disappointment that Xi has not made any commitments.

On trade and economic policy, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) spoke on the phone on Oct. 26 with Xi’s trusted lieutenant, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴).

As the Chinese side is still a long way from meeting its obligations under a “phase one” US-China trade deal, Washington can only hope that enhanced dialogue and calm communication can spur Beijing.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has called his Chinese counterpart twice during the administration of then US President Donald Trump. Milley promised to warn his counterpart of an imminent US attack on China. This guarantee prompted Beijing to accelerate its military expansion.

Despite US communications with China failing in other areas, the Biden administration has eased some of its sanctions against China-based Huawei Technologies Co and has repeatedly shown an eagerness to seek compromises.

Of course, Beijing is drawing battle lines around the “Taiwan problem” and is preparing to confront the US government over Biden’s pledge to defend Taiwan.

China hopes it can force the US to abandon its policy of strategic ambiguity and adopt an unequivocal “one China” policy.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is like a gang of mobsters who intimidate the weak but cringe before the powerful. Chinese military aircraft entering Taiwan’s air defense identification zone have recently started broadcasting their own radio messages, preemptively calling on Taiwanese fighter jets to intercept them in order to leave the area.

It is pure propaganda, much like the rumors spread by Chinese state media that Taiwanese are panicking to buy daily necessities because they fear a war with China.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese are discussing how many people are likely to be killed or injured in the first wave of an attack by China.

Beijing’s goal is twofold: to create an atmosphere of impending war to sow panic among Taiwanese and force Taipei to beg for peace; and to give the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) a chance to sow confusion and disorder.

Who knows if war will break out, but what is certain is that for each day that the CCP continues to exist, the possibility of war cannot be ruled out.

Taiwanese must face this reality and discuss how best to respond. Only when the public recognizes the reality of the threat will it remain calm and cool in tumultuous times.

In defending the sovereignty of the Republic of China, let alone a formal declaration of independence, Taiwanese would necessarily pay a price, but if Taiwan surrendered, several generations would pay the price.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese have been paying a price, and since 1997, Hong Kongers have been paying a price. When will it stop?

If Beijing prepares to sever US-China relations, this will of course include its relationship with Taiwan.

In addition to strengthening its self-defense capabilities, Taiwan also needs to improve its self-preservation in every field beyond military defense, especially national security.

The nation must escape the clutches of the National Security Act (國安法) and formulate a martial law that would give a future government a legal basis to issue the emergency powers it would need in the event of a war. Without martial law, how would the government deal with the enemy, exterminate foreign spies and ensure social order?

The now defunct martial law needs to be adapted to current circumstances.

If the US expanded its military presence in Taiwan, it would certainly help prevent China from invading. Before Xi was born, the US had troops stationed in Taiwan, and their presence lasted until he was a little boy playing in the courtyard of his parents’ house. He just wasn’t aware of it.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Edward Jones

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