Xi probably gave Putin the green light to go to war in Ukraine during the Winter Olympics, hoping to test the resilience of the West, he also assumed a blitzkrieg, the weakness of the West and the Ukrainians, to shock the West, to tie down US troops in Europe in order to clear the way in the Indo-Pacific and in Taiwan, but after the plan didn’t work out for the time being, the CCP is holding back for the time being. In any case, the Taiwanese DDP assesses that there is currently no threat and that the USA would otherwise intervene on Taiwan’s side, since a bipartisan consensus in the USA has now progressed so far that the Taiwan Relations Act is de facto going beyond the previous American ambiguity:
„China unlikely to attack in fall: NSB
REUNIFICATION LAW? Chen Ming-tong said he does not see China adopting such a law, as it would put too much pressure on Beijing to set a timetable to achieve it
It is “highly unlikely” that China would invade Taiwan this autumn, National Security Bureau (NSB) Director-General Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) told lawmakers yesterday, amid reports of a leaked Russian intelligence document suggesting that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is considering doing so.
“I believe this so-called leaked document is part of cognitive warfare targeting Taiwan,” Chen told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, but stopped short of naming China or Russia.
As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is scheduled to hold its 20th National Congress this autumn, the party’s main task is to maintain stability, Chen said”.
Tue, Mar 29, 2022 page1
“US would be involved in a war in Strait: NSB head
The US would be more deeply involved in a war across the Taiwan Strait than in Ukraine because of its commitments to Taipei under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), National Security Bureau (NSB) Director-General Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said yesterday, adding that the situation in Ukraine would deter China from military aggression.
Chen delivered a national security report to lawmakers on the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee behind closed doors, before responding to questions in an open session.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that China has been watching the developments in Ukraine and asked whether Beijing would be bolder or more cautious regarding military aggression against Taiwan.
Chen said that China would be more cautious, because even though Washington has been avoiding direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict for fear of sparking a worldwar, “the US is helping through Common Data Link and other telecommunication systems, despite having no legal obligation similar to the TRA to help Ukraine.”
“Although some people say the TRA is the US’ domestic law … it grants legal authorization for the US government to take action” in the event that a development occurs that requires its application, he said. “The current situation [in Ukraine] has given China much to think about, as the US has given much support to Ukraine, even without a law similar to the TRA.”
“Therefore, because of the TRA, we believe the US would be much more involved” in the event of a military conflict around Taiwan, he said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wen Yu-hsia (溫玉霞) said that US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John Aquilino has mentioned the possibility of China invading Taiwan, and asked Chen: “Are you denying that a war will eventually break out between China and Taiwan?”
“We know that Beijing has the intention of forcing unification on Taiwan, this is not a secret … but the developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine has discouraged Beijing from such an undertaking,” Chen said. “The conflict in Ukraine has served as a warning to Beijing not to start a war.”
At the same time, the USA is holding its annual maneuvers with the Philippines, in which presidential elections could usher in a post-Duterte era, especially since Marcos son is also standing for re-election, but all sides claim that this was to serve to protect the Philippines, had nothing to do with Taiwan and is routine.
US, Philippine forces begin war drills
SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER: Colonel Ramon Zagala said most of the maneuvers had been planned a year ago and did not consider the tensions in the Taiwan Strait
Thousands of US and Philippine troops yesterday began one of their largest combat exercises in years that was to include live-fire maneuvers, aircraft assaults, urban warfare and beach landings, in a showcase of US firepower in the northern Philippines near its sea border with Taiwan.
The annual exercises, called Balikatan — Filipino for “shoulder-to-shoulder” — are to run until Friday next week with nearly 9,000 navy, marines, air force and army troops, including 5,100 US military personnel, to strengthen the allies’ “capabilities and readiness for real-world challenges,” US and Philippine military officials said.
China would likely frown on the war drills given their relative proximity to Taiwan, but organizers said the exercises do not regard any particular nation as a target.
“The US military and Armed Forces of the Philippines will train together to expand and advance shared tactics, techniques and procedures that strengthen our response capabilities and readiness for real-world challenges,” said Major General Jay Bargeron, the US Third Marine Division’s commanding general. “Our alliance remains a key source of strength and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
First staged in 1991, the exercises are anchored on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which commits the US and the Philippines to come to the aid of the other in case of an attack.
The allies aim to be strong and seamlessly braced for any security contingency as a deterrence against war.
“It’s for mutual defense, never for offense,” Philippine military spokesman Colonel Ramon Zagala said. “
Conversely, Beijing is now reacting by wanting to sign a treaty with the Solomon Islands in addition to expanding its military bases in the South China Sea, which has raised suspicions in the USA and Australia that it wants to build a military base there. The Global Times, in turn, quotes an Australian MP who advocates an Australian invasion of the Solomon Islands to install a pro-Western government.A clear symbol of Anglosaxon imperialism in contrast to China´speaceful win-win-expansions.
“Hegemonic and colonist mentality behind Australia’s threats to invade Solomon Islands
By Global Times Published: Mar 28, 2022 12:37 AM
It’s ridiculous that Australia, on one hand, has closely followed the US in condemning what it perceives Russia’s „brutal and unprovoked invasion“ of Ukraine, but on the other, its elites bluntly threatened to invade its neighbor in the South Pacific and foster a regime change.
A Reuters report on Thursday saying that a proposal for a broader security agreement with China that would be sent to the Solomon Islands‘ cabinet for consideration has caused shockwaves through Canberra. David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher of?MacroBusiness?and former owner of leading Asia-Pacific foreign affairs journal?The Diplomat, suggested a day later that Australia „must ready Solomon Islands invasion.“ Calling the China-Solomon Islands deal „Australia’s Cuban missile crisis,“ Smith said „If it must, the nation [Australia] should invade and capture Guadalcanal such that we engineer regime change in Honiara“ to protect Australia’s „sovereignty and democracy.“
Australian elites threatened to invade Solomon Islands simply because the latter hopes to strengthen security cooperation with China. Canberra has carried out much military cooperation with the US, including signing the AUKUS deal that will help it acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Don’t Canberra’s actions pose a greater threat to China?
„This shows the hypocrisy and double standards of Australia’s frantic elites,“ said Chen Hong, director of the Australian Studies Center at East China Normal University. Chen noted that it also lays bare Australia’s ingrained hegemonic and colonialist mentality toward South Pacific island countries. Australia has no respect for the Solomon Islands and other South Pacific island countries at all, instead, it has long regarded them as its backyard, treating island countries in the region as sphere of influence or even vassal states. „When these countries hope to expand relations with others, Australia instantly reacts hysterically,“ Chen stressed.
Australia is trying to obstruct the Solomon Islands‘ normal cooperation with China even with the threat of an invasion. This shows Australia’s obsession with hegemonism. Chen said Australia has long been seeking to be the „minor hegemon“ in the South Pacific region. To this end, Australia maliciously distorted the security cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands.
The bilateral cooperation in law enforcement and security areas in fact is a response to last year’s riots in the Solomon Islands during which Chinese nationals there suffered great losses with their shops smashed, burned and looted and their personal safety in jeopardy. Given the presence of Chinese nationals in the Solomon Islands and with the development and expansion of normal ties between the two countries, it’s natural for the two sides to beef up security cooperation.
However, many Australian politicians, analysts and media outlets smeared this cooperation as a Chinese attempt to establish a military base in the Solomon Islands, hyping it would harm Australia’s interests and destabilize the region. Military expert Song Zhongping believes Australia is „experiencing persecutory delusions“ in which whatever China does in the South Pacific region will be portrayed as „threats“ to Australia. „This won’t help Australia win the trust of the island countries in the region, but will only expose Australia’s hysterical and ugly face,“ Song noted.
No matter how hard Australia tries to twist the facts and smear China’s intention, the cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands and other South Pacific island countries will become more diverse and enriched. China has provided South Pacific countries with more options in terms of economic and security development. Cooperation with China is popular among locals as it is conducted on an equal footing, is mutually beneficial and has no political conditions attached.
The waning of the Australian influence in the South Pacific region is because of Australia’s hegemonic mindset toward those countries. No country in the region would expect Australia, which can easily threaten to invade, to truly help its development.
During and despite or because of the Ukraine war, while China is weakened by the Covid lockdown of Shanghai and other cities and the trade war, Taiwan’s DDP does not expect an invasion of China against Taiwan, now the Biden US is sending another signal of its determination to strengthen Taiwan, in addition to the delivery of Patriot systems . After a Democratic delegation headed by Mike Mullen visited Taiwan to signal US support for Taiwan, but at the same time to make clear to the DDP so-called red lines that they should follow, Mike Pompeo’s visit was the exact opposite , especially since he also spoke out in favor of diplomatic recognition of Taiwan by the USA should he be elected. That would definitely start a Sino-American war, which he doesn’t seem to fear. Furthermore, a bipartisan draft in the US Congress was planned that would mean American support for renaming the Taiwan Economic and Culture Offices into the Taiwan Representative Office on the model of Lithuania. The Chinese ambassador to the United States then gave an interview to American media for the first time, threatening military conflict if this were to happen. The draft hasn’t been heard of since then, but that doesn’t mean it’s off the table. But now the Biden government and the US Congress want to send the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. The Global Times reacted to these reports with a clear threat of war, referring to the Ukraine war, even if it is now claimed that Pelosi was tested positive in a Covid test and the visit had to be postponed. But it is not postponed, nor is the threat of war. The last time the Speaker of the House of Representatives visited Taiwan was in 1997, when Newt Gingrich belonged to the opposition party,, in combination with the US visit of then-Taiwanese President Lee Denghui to an alumni speech at his former Cornell University which lead to a Taiwan crisis in which Bill Clinton sent aircraft carriers into the Taiwan Straits to deter China. But Pelosi is member of the ruling Democrats and not opposition party.
“Pelosi ‘tests positive, postpones Asia trip’ after China warns resolute, forceful measures over reported Taiwan visit
PLA always well prepared; relevant US politicians could be sanctioned: expert
and Guo Yuandan Published: Apr 07, 2022 04:43 PM Updated: Apr 08, 2022 10:48 AM If US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the island of Taiwan, as some media have reported, China will definitely respond with „resolute and forceful measures,“ the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. Chinese experts said China will and must retaliate; otherwise the US will make more provocations in the future, and the consequences that could be caused by the potential visit would bring a „disruptive impact“ on the foundation of China-US relations.
The reports that „Pelosi is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Sunday“ after her trip to Japan later this week in a show of support for Taiwan amid „concerns over cross-Straits relations following the Russia-Ukraine crisis“ have been seen on Taiwan media and Japan’s Fuji News Network on Thursday, but neither the office of Pelosi nor the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority on the island have confirmed or denied such reports.
However, China takes the information seriously. Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a routine press conference on Thursday that if Pelosi visits the island, „it would bring serious damage to the foundation of China-US relations, and would send the wrong messages to the Taiwan secessionists. China firmly opposes it and has already lodged solemn representations to the US.“
„China would respond with resolute and forceful measures, and all ensuing consequences would be borne solely by the US“ if the visit takes place, Zhao noted.
Pelosi tested positive and postponed her Asia visit, according to media reports later Thursday. This could be a decent step back, said some observers.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, also said in a statement on Thursday, „We warn the DPP authority that it should immediately stop any collusion with foreign forces to seek secessionism, and all crimes that it has made will be punished eventually.“
The measures will not be the same as the ones provoked by previous trips to the island made by lower-level or former US officials, said analysts, stressing that the response will and must be forceful enough to effectively warn the US about the seriousness of challenging the political foundation of China-US relations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden on March 18 during a video call requested by the latter that mishandling the Taiwan question will have a disruptive impact on bilateral ties. „China hopes that the US will give due attention to this issue,“ the Xinhua News Agency reported.
As Biden has reiterated 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, „I take these remarks very seriously,“ Xi said.
Chinese experts said if Pelosi visits the island, the consequences would be much more serious than Newt Gingrich’s visit to Taiwan in 1997. Because although Gingrich was the sitting House Speaker, he was a Republican while the then Bill Clinton administration was Democratic. But this time, both Pelosi and Biden are Democrats, and Pelosi won’t be able to make the trip if Biden opposes it, and this would mean that the Biden administration is cheating China since Biden has failed to keep his promises.
The international issues that require China-US cooperation like mediating 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, said analysts.
Biden’s acquiescence and connivance with Pelosi’s trip to the island of Taiwan is seen in China as undermining America’s commitment to the one-China principle, said Diao Daming, associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing.
Diao said „the US may think they are smart and think that Pelosi’s Taiwan island trip will increase the leverage for dialogue with China. But they can do nothing but mess things up.“
Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday that China will definitely respond forcefully; otherwise the US will push it further, and the US should not doubt and underestimate China’s determination and courage.
Four PLA aircraft entered Taiwan island’s self-proclaimed southwest ADIZ on Thursday, with a Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft flying to the east of the island, the island’s defense authority said.
The Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft’s flight was also reported by Japan. The country’s Ministry of Defense Joint Staff said in a press release on Thursday that it was the first time the Japan Air Self-Defense Force has confirmed this type of aircraft in the area.
Another Taiwan Straits crisis?
„The signal sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is very clear. Next, we can focus on what actions would be made by other relevant departments and ministries, especially the People’s Liberation Army [PLA]. More forceful measures are necessary to deter the US from making more risky and extreme moves on the Taiwan question,“ said Li Haidong, a professor from the China Foreign Affairs University.
The countermeasures would include military and non-military ones, said experts. Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, said the PLA doesn’t need to specifically set special plans ahead of the reported visit, because „the PLA is always prepared and has conducted relevant training all the time.“
„Apart from military actions, China could also sanction US officials who visit the island,“ Song noted.
The predictions are based on the hypothetical prerequisite – whether the Pelosi trip to Taiwan takes place. Hopefully, the US could stay reasonable and a crisis could be avoided. But if it takes place, the US will have to face another Taiwan Straits crisis that it cannot handle, said experts.
Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that sending military aircraft across the island is highly likely and the missions could take place in multiple areas over the island.
„The PLA could even establish a no-fly zone over the island to prove China’s sovereignty over the island. The PLA Air Force and Navy are capable of conducting such missions, and if Taiwan military forces dare to interrupt, they will pay a heavy price as well,“ said a Beijing-based military expert who asked for anonymity.
„The US decision-makers need to understand that the more provocations they make, the more resolute China will be in preparing to solve the Taiwan question by non-peaceful means,“ as the US side and the Taiwan secessionists will make the Chinese mainland lose faith in peaceful resolution of the question. When the conditions get mature, the PLA will take actions to solve the problem once and for all, Song said.
Pelosi is reportedly concerned about a „change of the status quo by force,“ but her reported visit will definitely force China to take further actions aimed at reunifying the island by force, Lü noted.
According to media reports, Pelosi’s visit will commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the Taiwan Relation Act, a US law that violates the principles for China and the US to establish diplomatic ties. And this act has maintained the unlawful arm sales from the US to the island and gives space for Taiwan secessionists to hold wishful thinking that expect the US to defend the island by force against the reunification of China, said experts.
„The PLA will take powerful measures, resolutely defeat all kinds of foreign force interference and Taiwan secessionist attempts and firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,“ Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of National Defense, said in a statement on Thursday.
Confidence and patience
However, if the US intends to make itself a safe haven for international capital flows by pushing China to retaliate and cause another crisis in Asia while the Russia-Ukraine crisis is troubling Europe, China won’t be made use of so easily, said analysts.
The retaliation doesn’t necessarily mean an all-out military operation to solve the Taiwan question, as China has confidence and patience to push reunification based on its own schedule, experts noted.
Compared to China’s calmness, the US is being very cautious. „Unlike previous US officials‘ and lawmakers‘ Taiwan visits, which were announced in advance, Pelosi’s rumored visit was only released by Japanese media, and no other Washington-related sources and US media have been leading the way,“ Diao said. „This is very strange.“
„If the tour is to mark the 43th anniversary of the Taiwan Relation Act as what the media reported, it would be time to make a high-profile visit, rather than try to keep it a secret. If there is still no response from Pelosi in the next 24 hours, the US attitude would be in question,“ Diao noted.
Chinese experts said despite the Taiwan question and the Ukraine crisis being entirely different in nature, similarities lie in the Biden administration’s manipulation on the two events.
The US keeps Europe close to Washington by stirring up the Ukraine crisis and playing up „Russian threats,“ said Diao. „It also fans the flames on the Taiwan question and plays up the ‚China threat‘ to advance its Indo-Pacific Strategy.“
Lü said US politicians in Washington want to show that they are not begging China for cooperation when they are facing trouble with Russia, and by making more provocations on the Taiwan question, they want to stress that the US is not giving up on the Indo-Pacific Strategy and will stay tough against China.
But such a strategy that could make the US confront China and Russia at the same time could eventually overdraft the national strength of the US and makes Washington pay a heavy price, said analysts.
The US should learn from the Ukraine crisis „what would happen when pushing a great power into a corner,“ Xin said.”
Fri, Apr 08, 2022 page1
Pelosi to arrive on Sunday, reports say
ON EDGE: China warned that it would take strong measures and that the US should bear the consequences if the US House of Representatives speaker visits Taiwan
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Sunday in a show of support for Taipei amid concerns over cross-strait relations following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, media reports said yesterday.
Should Pelosi’s rumored trip go ahead, she would be the first sitting House speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997, when Republican Newt Gingrich met with then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) would not confirm the visit, saying only that the government had always extended an invitation to US friends to visit.
“We will make details of any such trip public when we are able to do so,” Ou said.
Pelosi’s office also declined to say whether she was traveling to Taipei when contacted by Bloomberg News, citing longstanding security protocols.
Japanese media reports said that Pelosi is scheduled to arrive in Japan later this week to hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as the two nations seek to enhance coordination of their response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Pelosi was originally set to visit South Korea afterward, but decided to visit Taipei on Sunday instead, Fuji News Network said.
Sources told the network that the Taiwan trip was designed as a display of US support amid fears that China might try to emulate Moscow and launch an invasion across the Taiwan Strait.
Pelosi has repeatedly shown her support for Taiwan as speaker, a post she has served in since 2019, and from 2007 to 2011.
In late January, Pelosi spoke with Vice President William Lai (賴清德) via video link, assuring him that Taiwan enjoyed bipartisan support in the US Congress.
Beijing yesterday lodged a protest with Washington over reports of Pelosi’s planned visit.
“If she does visit, China will take strong measures and the consequences will be borne by the US,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) told a regular briefing in Beijing, without providing details.
Former Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin (胡錫進) wrote in an opinion piece that such a trip would represent the “most serious provocation by Washington” over Taiwan since Lee visited the US in 1996.
Hu deemed Gingrich’s visit less serious as he belonged to a different political party than then-US president Bill Clinton, although party affiliation is irrevelant to a speaker’s seniority in US politics.
“While the crisis in Ukraine is ongoing, the US is deliberately taking the offensive toward China,” Hu wrote. “China cannot back down this time.”
He called on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to close down Taiwanese airspace on Sunday by buzzing the nation with aircraft, including from the “direction of Pelosi’s plane.”
Also yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that a Swedish parliamentary delegation is to visit Taiwan next week.
The 12-member delegation, which is to visit from Sunday to Thursday next week, would be jointly led by Boriana Aberg, head of the Swedish-Taiwanese Parliamentarian amity association, and Charlie Weimers, a member of the European Parliament, Ou said.
The delegation would also include Kerstin Lundgren, deputy speaker of the Swedish Parliament, and Swedish parliamentarians Bjorn Soder, Lars Adaktusson, Markus Wiechel, Asa Coenraads, Ann-Sofie Alm, Lars Puss and Alexander Christiansson, Ou said.
While in Taipei, the delegation is to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and other senior government officials.
It is also to hold a seminar with a local defense security think tank, and meet Swedish business and student representatives, as well as other expatriates in Taiwan, Ou said.
The ministry welcomes the upcoming trip and believes the visit will further enhance Taiwan-Sweden cooperation and exchanges, Ou added.
So while one might think that the US and China would hold back on sparks in the Indo-Pacific, the opposite is happening. However, a weak link is identified by the DDP: The national Chinese of the KMT, who have no trust in the US, could serve as Beijing’s 5th column and, due to their defeatism and Chinese background, could be suitable traitors to China’s United front:
“The Liberty Times Editorial: The root of KMT’s distrust in US
Whenever a major international crisis or cross-strait situation occurs, someone inevitably takes it as an opportunity to say that Taiwan should not provoke China and that it cannot rely on the US for support.
Following this line of thinking would lead to the conclusion that Taiwan should just accept China’s conditions and acknowledge that it is “a part of China.” Such arguments are rooted in nationalism, defeatism and capitulation, pure and simple — but where does the US skepticism come from?
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some in the pan-blue camp have called President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her administration naive for their assurances that the US, Japan and other friendly countries would come to Taiwan’s aid in a Chinese attack, and saying that the Taiwan Strait is a formidable barrier able to prevent an invasion.
There are also those who warn that, irrespective of the geopolitical realities, trusting the US is unwise. They point to South Korean president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s announcement that the country plans to host a second US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, saying that the anti-missile system would only provoke Beijing and bring trouble to South Korea.
To understand this mistrust, look at the Chinese Civil War.
Prior to 1949, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) relied heavily on the US, but Washington had long before this lost any appetite for supporting the KMT due to its corruption and the way in which Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) governed the country. The KMT blamed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the disaster that befell China and was angry at the US for not sufficiently supporting it.
When World War II ended, fighting between the KMT and the CCP resumed, and the US wanted to mediate between Chiang and Mao Zedong (毛澤東). The KMT expected the US to side with it, but Washington was more interested in a resolution that would allow for the peaceful reconstruction of China. Joseph Stalin threw his weight behind Mao, and the US eventually withdrew its support for Chiang, which contributed to the KMT’s defeat at the hands of the CCP.
When Chiang and the KMT forces retreated to Taiwan, Chiang and the US continued their love-hate relationship.
In the post-Chiang era, the KMT’s party-state rule disintegrated, giving way to a two-party system. Meanwhile, the KMT was forced to watch its sworn enemy across the Strait go from strength to strength, while it conceded to the so-called “1992 consensus.”
From this point on, the KMT and the US became increasingly estranged.
Last year, amid the US’ controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan, questions were raised about the value of Washington’s assurances to its allies. Even though US President Joe Biden and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reiterated the US’ promises to Taiwan, members of the pan-blue camp jumped at the chance to say that Taiwan would be foolish to trust the US.
Prominent pan-blue camp figures still find it difficult to forget how the US pulled out of Vietnam and the South China Sea, and how, in their minds, it let down the Republic of China.
They remember how the China UN seat was taken from the KMT government and handed to the People’s Republic of China in 1971, the Shanghai Communique former US president Richard Nixon signed in 1972 and the US’ establishment of diplomatic ties with China in 1979.
They also blame the US for failing to support Chiang in his wish to “retake the mainland,” which ultimately led to a political revolution that ended with the fragmentation of the KMT party-state.
These geopolitical changes resulting from choices the US made left KMT figures that lived through them feeling abandoned and traumatized. Since then, when any major event happens, they relive this trauma.
Therefore, in addition to the nationalism, defeatism and capitulation, the pan-blue camp’s attitude toward the US also drives its view on cross-strait issues. On a profound level the pan-blue camp believes that since the KMT’s relocation from Nanjing to Taipei, it has become increasingly diminished, suffering ever more difficulties, mainly as a result of the US turning its back on it.
The US’ policy toward Taiwan has always been aimed at protecting the nation, not the KMT party-state. Understanding that point, makes everything clear. Former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) was a pragmatist, and he understood this.
The pan-blue camp’s suspicious attitude toward the US has long permeated Taiwanese society. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden has — presumably due to global strategic considerations — supported Ukraine through arms shipments and sanctions, while making it clear that he would not send in US troops to engage Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Despite his clarity, the message became confused in Taiwan.
There are sections of Taiwan’s society that have a kind of Stockholm syndrome, believing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) assurances that Chinese and Taiwanese are all part of “one family across the Strait.” They warn Taiwanese against buying into the “fantasy” that someone will be coming to their aid. When talking about this “someone,” they say: “You eat their toxic pork, you buy their weapons, and yet you were not placed high on their priority list when it came to distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations. Surely this says it all.”
With China and Russia apparently on the same page over the war in Ukraine, there has been an incessant barrage of commentary from overseas about what the situation means for Taiwan.
Giving evidence at a US Senate Armed Forces Committee meeting only a few weeks ago, US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John Aquilino said that the situation in Ukraine was a wake-up call, and showed that an invasion of Taiwan could happen.
What would happen if China managed to deny Taiwan access to the US, and Washington was unable to intervene in an attack? Even if it managed to provide support, and even if Taiwan ultimately only secured a Pyrrhic victory, the invaders would still have achieved their objective: the annihilation of Taiwan, and of its place in the global supply chain.
A minority of Taiwanese are confused about where their loyalties should lie, and it is this internal contradiction that the nation should work to resolve. They largely derive their US-skepticism from their perception that it turned its back on Taiwan and the KMT’s party-state.
There are also a large number of Taiwanese that do not understand why the US, after all these years, has yet to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country, and why it insists on adhering to a policy of “strategic ambiguity” that keeps Beijing coveting Taiwan.
The Ukraine war over the past month is just the precursor to a wider conflict between authoritarian states and democracies, and democratic countries must stick together if they are to prevail.
The Biden administration has sent two delegations to Taiwan, one in April last year and another earlier this month, reiterating its promises to Taiwan as an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region. This was all to reinforce feelings of trust in Taiwan and dispel suspicions of the US’ intent.
Washington has informed its allies in NATO and Asia that Beijing has already, at Moscow’s request, agreed to provide Russia with military and economic support.
International peace is facing global and complex challenges, and the US is looking to assist Taiwan in its overall self-defense to counter this.
However, the German China expert Dr. Eberhard Sandschneider claims that there was no immediate danger of a Chinese attack on Taiwan. In an interview with China. Table, he said:
“No, as tempting as this comparison and the parallels may be for some, the situation in Asia is completely different. Taiwan has the best equipped and best trained army in the western Pacific. China* would get a very bloody nose. In addition, there is the Taiwan Relations Act, through which the United States is closely linked to Taiwan. There is a promise of support. China’s President Xi Jinping is aware of this risk. In this respect, the current speculation about a possible attack by China on Taiwan* is really misplaced. I can not imagine that.(…)
It would not currently be advisable for China to enter into a conflict with the USA. Nor will they. But you are right. Ben Hodges, the former supreme commander of the US armed forces, never gets tired of pointing out that he expects a war between China and the US within the next ten years. That would be World War III. (…) From my point of view there are two main dangers: the chance risk and the risk of a wrong perception, if you misjudge the other side and then make mistakes. As is currently the case with Vladimir Putin*. But I stand by it: Xi Jinping is currently assessing the risk correctly. I don’t know if that will still be the case in ten years. The problem here is that there are two sides to a possible conflict. Yes, and that’s what worries me. The China debate in the US has radicalized enormously. There is hardly a politician who does not see China as the greatest challenge of our time. And in contrast to Germany and Europe, this always includes the military component. I was at a panel discussion in the Dirkson Senate Building in Washington D.C. when a US colleague said: War is not the worst option. I thought I did not hear right. I was totally speechless. But nobody around me even flinched.”
So maybe it will be not China starting a war with the USA, but maybe the USA under Trump or Pompeo or another politican starting a war against China. The RAND report “War with China” already claimed that a Sinoamerican war was much more difficult to win for the USA in 2025 than in 2035.