Time for US to drop invalid 'Taiwan card'
The US officials should stop sending dangerous wrong signals that can undermine regional peace in East Asia and damage the US ties with China. They should bear in mind that one-China principle is a bottom line that Uncle Sam should never cross.
On Tuesday, US Navy Admiral John Aquilino, nominee to be commander of US Indo-Pacific Command warned that Chinese mainland is quickly amassing weapons and systems to militarily overwhelm Taiwan.
Joe Biden administration should clear up his predecessor's diplomatic heritage, by reversing the free fall of Sino-US relationship. The Anchorage talks held between top diplomats from both sides last week, the first-ever under Biden administration, displayed that communication is better than confrontation, though the war of words continued.
The Chinese delegation emphasized that, as a signatory to the three Sino-US joint communiqués, the US is obligated to accept there is only one China and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, and "the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government of China, and within this context, the people of the US will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan".
In the second half of 2020, the Donald Trump administration repeatedly violated the one-China principle leading to further deterioration in Sino-US relations and rising tensions across the Taiwan Straits. Whether the United States adheres to the one-China principle has a direct bearing on the development of Sino-US ties and will determine whether the cross-Straits situation is peaceful or turbulent.
Political observers expect the Biden administration to respect the one-China principle — and not play the Taiwan card — so as to put Sino-US relations back on the right track and restore peace and stability across the Straits.
But at their recent meeting, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin agreed with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi that the two sides should closely cooperate in the event of a military clash between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, according to Japanese government sources. Although Japan says its official policy on cross-Straits relations is to encourage dialogue for a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues, Tokyo and Washington seem to be preparing for an extreme eventuality, which means they could have a hidden agenda on Taiwan.
To show its sincerity to one-China principle, the US should stop official exchanges and military contacts with Taiwan. The US must not prop up "Taiwan independence" forces, or incite them to make imprudent moves. Instead, it should oppose "Taiwan independence" to avoid a conflict with Chinese mainland. To a certain extent, the cross-Straits situation largely depends on the attitude the US adopts toward Taiwan and those seeking the "independence" of the island. This is the litmus test for the US, and it will prove how committed it is to the one-China policy.
But US politicians such as former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton have been trying to stoke trouble across the Straits. For instance, Clinton said on Monday that the US should invest more resources to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of a cross-Straits conflict.
Such remarks go against the spirit of the three joint communiqués, which the US has signed. So the Biden administration should be wary of such acidic rhetoric from leading US politicians.
Moreover, the Biden administration, in line with the three joint communiqués, should reduce and eventually stop selling arms to Taiwan. The Taiwan question is China's internal affair and US arms sales to Taiwan is gross interference in China's internal affairs. In fact, selling arms to Taiwan is tantamount to encouraging "Taiwan independence" forces that pose a great threat China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The US should support the Chinese government in handling the issue of Taiwan's participation in international forums and organizations on the basis of the one-China principle. Any attempt to circumvent the one-China principle by playing tricks will be doomed to fail.
If it truly wants to maintain cross-Straits peace, the Biden administration should support and encourage the Taiwan authorities and people to conduct exchanges with the mainland on the basis of the 1992 Consensus, rather than intensify tensions across the Straits.
In doing so, Washington will also pave the way for the healthy development of Sino-US ties, create new avenues for Sino-US cooperation and build a consensus on jointly dealing with climate change, the novel coronavirus pandemic and other common issues.
The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.