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US a peace breaker across the Straits

By Liu Qiang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-04-02 09:23
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This photo taken on Dec 8, 2022 shows the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

At a time when the problems facing the world are becoming acuter, Sino-US relations are also becoming increasingly tense, because the United States has been violating the one-China principle. The US’ moves have poisoned cross-Straits relations, which include allowing Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen to transit through the US en route to Guatemala and Belize in Central America and scheduling a meeting between her and House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

By allowing Tsai to transit through the US, not once but twice, Washington is actually backing Taiwan’s pro-independence forces. Worse, the US has tried to play down Beijing’s serious concerns as overreaction and twisted them to claim Beijing is preparing to forcibly reunify Taiwan with the Chinese mainland.

First, it is clear the US is a troublemaker and has been interfering in the Taiwan question, which is China’s internal affair. The fact is that Taiwan is an integral part of China and reunification has been the common goal of both sides of the Taiwan Straits since the War of Liberation (1946-49).

Although the US is well aware of this historical background, it has been supporting pro-independence forces on the island and using Taiwan as a strategic chip to poison cross-Straits relations. The Taiwan question is central to the Chinese nation. The bond between the two sides of the Straits is so strong that a Taiwan leader passing through another country becomes an extremely sensitive political and diplomatic issue.

Tsai’s stopovers in the US are an excuse that Washington is using to cover up the real essence of Tsai’s political show — to gain support for pro-independence forces. Understating the provocative action as “the latest in a series of routine ‘transits” is a smokescreen Washington is using to heighten tensions across the Straits, which has also worsened Sino-US ties.

Second, the US is a peace-breaker in the Taiwan question. In recent years, the pro-independence forces on the island have become more vocal thanks to US support. The US has gone back on its promise to adhere to the one-China principle that there is but one China and Taiwan is an integral part of China.

The Joe Biden administration has repeatedly stressed that it does not support “Taiwan independence”. But its actions belie its words. The US Congress has passed several Taiwan-related acts, increased US-Taiwan exchanges, allowed US officials to interact directly with Taiwan officials, and introduced a bill trying to rename “Taiwan Representative Office” from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” in the US.

More important, the US has been selling increasing amounts of advanced weapons to Taiwan, and has even talked about helping Taiwan defend itself against the mainland. Tsai seeks to split the country by getting US support, which is exactly what her “stopovers” are aimed at achieving. And by arranging her transits through the US, Washington is trying to hollow out the one-China principle.

Third, the US is a thief crying “catch the thief”. Accusing Beijing of overreacting to the transits of high-level Taiwan officials through the US, the Biden administration has said “Tsai’s stopovers are in keeping with past precedent” and asked Beijing not to use them as a pretext to step up activities across the Straits.

A two- or three-day stay in Los Angeles is far beyond a “transit”, not to mention that Tsai is also scheduled to meet with House Speaker McCarthy. People are questioning why the US arranged the “transits” but the administration insists they are “nothing new” and instead claiming that Beijing poses a risk to the region.

Maintaining its global hegemony is the only reason the US is doing so. The US should be held responsible for any break in peace across the Straits. From the strategic point of view, the US uses the “Taiwan card” to raise tensions across the Straits, in order to force the mainland to deplete its resources in restoring normalcy. And once that happens, Washington can bargain with Beijing using the “Taiwan card” again.

The US should stop playing the “Taiwan card”. It has already breached many of its commitments using innumerable excuses. No matter how desperately the US tries, it cannot cover up its real motives. It has been damaging the foundation of Sino-US relations by backing “Taiwan independence”. And it should be held accountable for all the consequences.

The US always accuses other countries of breaking the rules. But the US itself does not seriously follow any international rules and laws. It’s high time the US stopped interfering in the Taiwan question and returned to the right track of the one-China principle.

The author is director of the academic council and a senior research fellow at the Shanghai Center for RimPac Strategic and International Studies.

The views don’t necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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