Recent Developments Around and After Pelosi’s Visit: New Normal and China’s White Paper on Taiwan

Recent Developments Around and After Pelosi’s Visit: New Normal and China’s White Paper on Taiwan

China continues to carry out its military maneuvers, one wonders when they want to end them again, conversely, the USA has now send aircraft carriers and warships, which are also demonstratively crossing the Taiwan Strait. All of this is apparently no longer worth mentioning in Western media. The new normal seems to be no longer afraid of confrontation with China and China’s monopoly on interpreting the one-China principle, and making  clear that the US and Western states can send sub-government political representatives to Taiwan as they please. Especially since they are also free to meet Chinese opposition figures in Taiwan as they like. This news no longer finds much space in the mainstream media and the following two reports can only be read in the German-green alternative daily newspaper taz or the Tehran Time. What is not reported apart from the taz: Pelosi also met in Taiwan with the icon of the 1989 Tiananmen protests, who at that time publicy and openly challenged  Li Peng in front of the camera, Wuer Kaixi and other Chinese dissidents. They believe that Pelosi’s visit will bring about a new China policy that will not shy away from confrontation and that Beijing will give in and allow the world to adjust to the new normal. There is no Taiwan crisis as a result- according to their perspecive.

“Taiwan Conflict: A Selfie and Its History

Human rights activist Wu’er Kaixi and Nancy Pelosi meet at a secret meeting. The 54-year-old has lived in exile in Taiwan since 1996.

Wu’er Kaixi and Nancy Pelosi when they met in Taiwan last week Photo: private

The meeting, which has the potential to irritate Beijing like no other, had not even really started when the first border was crossed. Nancy Pelosi entered the room, made a beeline for those waiting and hugged a strong, graying man in a stars and stripes mask. A violation of Taiwan’s corona rules. Everyone had been told that Pelosi’s delegation was strictly private and not even to shake hands. It was the afternoon of August 3, the last appointment of Pelosi’s less than 24-hour visit to Taiwan, which she had made despite all warnings from China. The chair of the US House of Representatives had visited Taiwan’s parliament, met the president, and now the 82-year-old was sitting opposite an illustrious group of China critics in the National Human Rights Museum on the outskirts of Taipei. For decades, the one she hugged has been at least as red a rag for China as Pelosi has been since this trip.

A few days later, Wu’er Kaixi is sitting in a café and describing the scene. „I reminded them that we first met in Washington exactly 33 years ago, on August 3, 1989.“ name as a whole, one of the most important student leaders from Tiananmen Square. Less than two months earlier, the native of Beijing had been able to escape abroad after the brutal suppression of the democracy movement. Many more meetings followed. In Taipei, Pelosi introduced him to the five other MPs in her delegation as a „friend,“ he says. The 54-year-old, who has been living in exile in Taiwan since 1996 and who has worked as a full-time lobbyist for the threatened democracy in his new homeland for several years, has gotten to know many backrooms in Washington the question of whether it brought Taiwan much-needed revaluation or just more trouble with China.

Clear message, clear place

Beijing’s protests, and with them the whole fuss, started with a leak. On July 19, the Financial Times revealed the travel plans, citing anonymous sources. Would Pelosi really do it or would he still flinch? There was no official confirmation until their Air Force plane touched down in Taipei, and on the opinion pages of the world press, the clear-cut faction argued with team caution. Wu’er Kaixi was already in the know, because on or shortly before July 19 – he no longer remembers exactly – Nancy called Pelosi’s office. Would he be in Taipei in early August? “I wanted so badly for this visit to take place. Of course I kept that to myself so as not to endanger him.” Not only the participants of the meeting with Pelosi, but also the location should send a clear message: Taiwan is very different from China. Hardly anything embodies this change from a dictatorship to one of the freest democracies in Asia better than this collection of barracks in front of a prison building with watchtowers, cell blocks and barbed wire. Up until the 1980s, military tribunals pronounced injustices here, sentenced political prisoners to death or to long imprisonment in primitive cells. Today, former inmates show visitors around, and as much as possible has been preserved in its original condition – such as in the Stasi prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, with which the Human Rights Museum has been communicating for a long time.

 In addition to Uyghur and former student leader Wu’er Kaixi, Pelosi met another exile here, Lam Wing-Kee. The Beijing-critical bookseller from Hong Kong was kidnapped and imprisoned in China in 2015. He has been living in Taipei since 2019 and is again running a bookshop here, free from censorship. Also coming was Taiwan’s Lee Ming-che, an early casualty of China’s tougher stance against Taiwan. In 2017, the democracy activist disappeared while on a trip to China. It was a year after President Tsai Ing-wen, a separatist for Beijing, took office. An example should be made. Months later, Lee resurfaced for a show trial for „undermining the power of the state.“ He was in Chinese custody until last April. The American number three also met the representative of the Dalai Lama in Taiwan, Kelsang Gyaltsen Bawa. Taiwan, Tiananmen, Tibet – the three big T’s that make Beijing jump out of his skin. Plus Hong Kong and the Uyghurs. As if it was about crossing as many red lines in China as possible. The hour-long conversation was „much more symbolic than substantial,“ says Wu’er Kaixi, and Pelosi’s entire visit „a clear confrontational statement against Beijing.“ The USA did not want an escalation, but would no longer shy away from confrontations with Taiwan. Team clear edge. „If the world still didn’t get that, then this meeting should make it even clearer.“

So if “The Meeting is the Message” – why didn’t it make headlines, why weren’t there any pictures in the news? The world has already turned its attention to the military exercises off Taiwan’s coast that China has announced. But there had been no press in the room, and after the fact, the US Mission in Taipei did not release photos or video footage. Even when asked, the representative did not comment. Wu’er Kaixi can’t quite make sense of it. He cannot believe that someone decided not to offend China too much after all. Of course he would like to see the official group photo taken on the sidelines of the meeting. „But the statement is made. That counts.“ False narratives in the West? China is now beginning to close the sack around Taiwan, Joe Biden was unhappy about Pelosi’s trip – Wu’er Kaixi considers these narratives, which also determined many reports in the West, to be wrong. Like most Taiwanese – he has been a citizen since 1999 and has started a family here – after decades of threats and harassment from China, he saw the day-long, large-scale military exercises less as a threatening escalation and more as routine. Wu’er Kaixi is convinced that Pelosi’s visit marks the beginning of a new US policy on Taiwan. His talks in the US Congress, State Department and Defense Department – in the last two years he has visited Washington four times on behalf of the human rights commission of Taiwan’s parliament – make him optimistic: the „decades-long policy of appeasement towards China“ will be corrected, the USA will set the rules of the game again determine. The Europeans, it was his impression, had not yet understood that the tide had started to shift with Pelosi’s visit. Deliberately misleading statements probably contributed to this. „The military doesn’t think this is a good idea right now,“ was Joe Biden’s much-cited comment on July 20 about a possible Pelosi trip. But he, Biden, doesn’t know what the situation is. „I just thought: You old fox!“ says Wu’er Kaixi. „If even I was privy to the travel plans that day, no one can tell me the President didn’t know.“

However, China now also wants to redefine the rules of the game. During the maneuvers, ballistic missiles flew over the island for the first time. The Strait of Taiwan, through which much of the world’s freight traffic passes, is not international waters. And the long-respected middle line of the straits as an informal buffer no longer plays a role either. Military operations around Taiwan are said to be the new normal. A US aircraft carrier stayed at a distance.!5873835/

 The second major piece of news, more likely to be read in the Tehran Times than in Western media, is that China has now released its own white paper on Taiwan in response to Pelosi’s visit. This may form the rough draft for a new Taiwan law at the upcoming 20th party congress, which is intended to replace the previous abstract anti-seccession law, which is more like a framework declaration. Probably without a concrete time frame to remain flexible, but essential elements can be read:

“China’s new white paper on Taiwan follows Pelosi’s visit

August 10, 2022 – 20:4

China has released a new white paper which, first and foremost, reiterates “the fact that Taiwan is part of China”, documents the historic aspect of the territory and warns outside forces especially the United States against using separatist forces in Taipei to contain Beijing.

The new white paper states “some elements in a small number of countries, the U.S. foremost among them, have colluded with forces in Taiwan, to falsely claim that the [UN] resolution [2758] did not conclusively resolve the issue of Taiwan’s representation.”

The resolution enshrines the one-China principle and as the paper states “leaves no doubt Taiwan does not have any ground, reason, or right to join the UN, or any other international organization whose membership is confined to sovereign states the paper clarifies.”

A spokesperson for the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China explained that “separatist forces‘ collusion with external forces in making provocations, as well as their vicious words and deeds that attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity or stand in the way of its reunification,”

The publication comes on the backdrop of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who became the highest-ranking American official in power to land in Taiwan. The trip was the latest in a series of visits by U.S. politicians over the past few years to Taipei to hold meetings with separatist forces.

The controversial trips have gone ahead despite the United Nations, officially recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China. A principle that is even acknowledged by Washington in that there is one China and Taiwan is part of China.

Yet similar to the United States‘ violations of international law and agreements in other parts of the world, the hegemonic and warmongering seeking politicians in the country and those who stand behind them have been attempting to disrupt the independence of countries in East Asia.

Beijing had strongly and repeatedly warned against Pelosi’s visit but the U.S. House Speaker went ahead with it anyway at a time of changing international geopolitics and relations.

With the NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion towards Russian borders sparking the crisis in Ukraine, it has become evident that the United States and the powerful lobby groups that control the country’s congress are using proxy parties to contain the rising influence, power, and economy of other countries.

Experts argue that those parties (such as the separatist forces in Taiwan) colluding with Washington are perhaps unable to ascertain they are being used as pawns to their own detriment and to the detriment of their people, their economies, and their livelihoods.

China’s new white paper picks up on this matter by pointing out the economic prosperity of people on both sides of the Taiwan strait when working together in areas of politics and trade. However, where there is economic prosperity, there is also the hawks in Washington who also want a piece of that pie.

The Russian Federation, which has for decades fended off Washington’s desire to undermine its standing in the international arena, condemned Pelosi’s Taipei trip, as did the Islamic Republic of Iran which has had similar experiences with the United States.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of American officials visiting Taiwan have been U.S. arms manufacturers who have used the trips to sell separatist forces in Taiwan weapons to the tune of billions of dollars and to the cheers and applause of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.

However as analysts have pointed out, the weapons which accompany the trips by foreign officials will fail to bring the Taiwanese separatist forces any security, they only increase tension, as was evident with China’s military exercises in the aftermath of Pelosi’s visit.

Experts have argued that it’s a very similar scenario with the crisis in Ukraine where U.S. arms manufacturers are making a huge profit from the fighting at the expense of Ukrainians. The weapons manufacturing firms are the face of the American congress where Pelosi is expected to lose her job in the November mid-term elections; which may explain her Taiwan trip.

„We are one China, and Taiwan is part of China. This is an indisputable fact supported by history and the law. Taiwan has never been a state; its status as part of China is unalterable,“ says the white paper.

The paper emphasizes on unity among all Chinese saying “the future of Taiwan lies in China’s reunification, and the wellbeing of the people in Taiwan hinges on the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, an endeavor that bears on the future and destiny of the people on both sides. A united and prosperous China will be a blessing for all Chinese, while a weak and divided China will be a disaster.”

It goes on to state that “separatist propaganda and the unresolved political dispute between the two sides have created misconceptions over cross-Straits relations, problems with national identity, and misgivings over national reunification among some fellow Chinese in Taiwan.”

The spokesperson expressed confidence that the international community and all countries that have established diplomatic ties with China will abide by the one-China principle, properly handle Taiwan-related issues, develop better understanding and give more support to the Chinese people for their just cause of opposing „Taiwan independence“.

Underlying a new era for the country the white paper points out several key issues that the Western media will try to ignore.

It states that “once peaceful reunification is achieved under One Country, Two Systems, it will lay new foundations for China to make further progress and achieve national rejuvenation. At the same time, it will create huge opportunities for social and economic development in Taiwan and bring tangible benefits to the people of Taiwan.”

The paper explains in detail how firstly; “backed up by the vast mainland market, Taiwan’s economy will enjoy broader prospects.”

Secondly, it expands on how “provided that China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests are guaranteed after reunification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region.”

Thirdly it touches on how the “Chinese will bridge gaps and differences caused by long-term separation.”

Finally, the paper states how “peaceful Reunification of China Is Conducive to Peace and Development in the Asia-Pacific and the Wider World.”

All four points are issues that “some elements in a small number of countries, the U.S. foremost among them” would be dreading to forecast and will no doubt try to disrupt. The idea of economic prosperity, real and true freedom in the form of territorial integrity, regional unity as well as peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific doesn’t sound too good for U.S. politicians who have lobby groups with envelopes of money in their pockets.

There is no financial profit in peace and prosperity for Washington, while a stronger China (just like a stronger Russia or Iran) is inevitable sooner rather than later and something that the United States quite frankly is just unable to stop.

The reasons are many but as the new white paper alludes to in its conclusion, China has a “5,000-year history” and ancient civilizations are not going anywhere apart from growing in strength and power.

The United States, with its short history of violence, displacement of native Americans, discrimination, slavery, and reliance on war for survival (in a similar fashion to that of the Zionist regime in West Asia) will soon see it’s fake global and short term hegemony collapse.

The recently seemingly dominant view of the Pelosi visit in the western camp is also shared by the CDU chairman, opposition leader and probably next chancellor candidate Friedrich Merz:

 “Besides the war in Ukraine, the escalating conflict between China and Taiwan is proving to be one of the greatest threats to world peace. The People’s Republic of China, the communist-ruled „Mainland China“, has for decades claimed reunification with the island group of Taiwan, to which the defeated troops of Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek fled after the civil war in 1949 and which initially set up a established party rule. From 1949 – the year the „People’s Republic of China“ was proclaimed – until the early 1970s, the government of the Republic of China, as Taiwan is called to this day, represented all of China through numerous diplomatic missions around the world and also at the United Nations in NYC. Only with the opening of China during the Nixon administration and with Nixon’s visit to China in 1971 was there a solution to the question of which part of China would now represent China as a whole internationally, because the demand for a „two-state solution“ had the American side cannot maintain in the month-long negotiations about the final communiqué with the government in Beijing. We owe to Henry Kissinger and his extensive descriptions and memoirs the precise historical background of how the „One China Policy“ finally came about. In the final communiqué of the Nixon visit, the US acknowledged that „all Chinese on both sides of the Formosa Strait say that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China.“ This left the question explicitly open, under what conditions and before all of which part of China the wish for unity should one day be fulfilled. Neither side would try to implement their preferred solution, as the People’s Republic made concessions to the United States.The commitment to the „One China Policy“ does not trigger any claim by the People’s Republic of China to take over Taiwan. On the contrary, reunification could only take place peacefully and with the consent of both sides. Therefore, the communist leadership in Beijing cannot presume to determine who can visit Taiwan and who cannot. So Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a few days ago was perfectly fine. Whether it was politically wise to travel at this point remains to be seen. But it remains true that the Human Rights Committee of the German Bundestag is planning to travel to Taiwan in the fall. There is more reason than ever to talk about the human rights situation in the region.”

 Professor van Ess commented on this as follows: „It’s not unreasonable. But one should not forget the German Hallstein Doctrine. Of course, the Federal Republic of Germany was of the same opinion that it had the right to strive for reunification from its point of view, as the People’s Republic of China wants today. Of course, the latter believes that it is she who will reunite China. However, she has also repeatedly said that she would like to do this peacefully – as long as others do not try to separate Taiwan from China and thus violate the agreement reached by Kissinger, which Merz so aptly quotes. Nancy Pelosi’s visit was, at best, a balancing act in that regard. The DPP wants a detachment from China without daring to take this step. Pelosi backed her.”

The reference to the Hallstein Doctrine is appropriate, but vice versa, no Chinese Willy Brandt and a new Chinese Ostpolitik towards Tawiwan is to be expected, with Xi or without him, which could replace the Chinese Hallstein doctrine, especially since on the Taiwan side the DDP wants to promote independence in the hope that such US politicians like John Bolton or Mike Pompeo would support them, or a Trump or “Trump with a brain” Ron de Santis would question the one-China principle in such a way that the hopes of the DDP and the nightmares of the CCP were promoted. Whether there could be some kind of new Ostpolitik under a DDP is rather unlikely and after the KMT had replaced such pro-independence advocates as Lee Denghui in favor of such status quo advocates as Ma Yingjiu, then maybe a change would be possible. But the KMT is also now split between supporters of the status quo who struggle with the fact that the status quo is long gone, appeasers who prefer to sacrifice democracy in order to avoid war at all costs, and splits from the KMT. So it is rather unlikely that the Chinese Hallstein Doctrine can be brought to a peaceful end in the medium term. and there is no Chinese or Taiwanese Willy in sight.

He also reports on reactions from Asian academic sides during a visit to Singapore:

“I sat in Singapore during Pelosi’s visit and spoke to university presidents. They didn’t leave the lady a good hair, neither did the Vice President from Taiwan, who wished that the VR Chinese didn’t put too much pressure on her. He was afraid that Tsai Ing-wen would then possibly be re-elected, which would certainly not be the case without the PRC. He also said that without pressure from the VR on Taiwan, Tsai would not have stood a chance last time. The VR is probably harming itself with its emotional reactions to the Taiwan question. I would also treat Mr. Merz to a business trip to Singapore. It has the potential to change the way you see the world. You have to get rid of the provincial European perspective.”

In any case, the following report regarding the ASEAN states stands out: Singapore, with its Han Chinese majority, semi-authoritarian system, which acts more as an appeaser towards Beijing, but also maintains a US military base, recently also a British military base is now also involved in joint military maneuvers with the US and others, while Thailand now holds joint air force maneuvers with the Chinese PLAF, as the Korea Times reports:

“China sending fighter jets to Thailand for joint exercises

The Chinese air force is sending fighter jets and bombers to Thailand for a joint exercise with the Thai military on Sunday.

The training will include air support, strikes on ground targets and small- and large-scale troop deployment, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

China’s expanding military activities in the Asia-Pacific region have alarmed the United States and its allies and form part of a growing strategic and economic competition that has inflamed tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Thailand in June as part of an effort to strengthen what he called America’s “unparalleled network of alliances and partnerships“ in the region.

The Falcon Strike exercise will be held at the Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in northern Thailand near the border with Laos. Thai fighter jets and airborne early warning aircraft from both countries will also take part.

The training comes as the U.S. holds combat drills in Indonesia with Indonesia, Australia, Japan and Singapore in the largest iteration of the Super Garuda Shield exercises since they began in 2009.

It also follows China’s sending warships, missiles and aircraft into the waters and air around Taiwan in a threatening response to a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-ruled island, which China claims as its territory.

Kurt Campbell, a top advisor to President Joe Biden on the Indo-Pacific, said Friday that the U.S. would take calm and resolute steps to support Taiwan, including sending warships and aircraft through the 160-kilometer (100-mile) wide waterway that separates Taiwan and China.

“We’ll continue to fly, sail and operate where international law allows, consistent with our longstanding commitment to freedom of navigation,“ he said in a call with reporters. “And that includes conducting standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks.“ (AP)

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