US retreat from Kabul a lesson for Taiwan

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan has been using the stalemate between the Chinese mainland and the United States to push forward its "Taiwan independence" agenda.


The ruling Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan has been using the stalemate between the Chinese mainland and the United States to push forward its "Taiwan independence" agenda. And to achieve that agenda, it has been acting as a stooge of Washington against Beijing, causing great turbulence in the Taiwan Straits.

Strutting in borrowed plumes, the DPP has become growingly aggressive in its pursuit of "Taiwan independence", which is the root cause of the highly strained cross-Straits relations since the party came to power in 2016.

But even as the DPP was getting drunk on Washington promise of support, the US troops' hasty and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has dealt a heavy blow to the pro-independence party, which has long counted on the backing of the US to fulfill its nefarious designs, and believed the US would come to its help in case a war were to break out across the Straits.

That the US abandoned the Ashraf Ghani government in Afghanistan once again shows it should never be trusted to extend help to a country or a region when needed. Many critics in Taiwan are pointing out that the failure of the US in Afghanistan should be seen as a warning for the island. They say the DPP's efforts to instill the idea of "the US being the savior of Taiwan" in the island's residents to make them trust Washington with their fate and future are stupid and irresponsible.

In fact, since 1975, the US has ditched many countries which considered it an ally. The list stretches from South Vietnam in 1975 to Afghanistan today. The chaotic and panic scenes during the final days of the US withdrawal from Kabul have shocked the world and made many Taiwan residents realize that Washington can drop a so-called partner economy like a hot brick, sacrificing its interests. They have also realized that peace, not war, is needed for the development of both sides of the Straits.

Despite the growing doubts on the island, the DPP refuses to wake up. The pro-independence party knows that Washington has been using it as a pawn against Beijing to fulfill its narrow geopolitical goals in the region.

Washington was never interested in protecting the island, and never will be. Still, the DPP, without even the slightest hesitation, has allowed itself to be used as a US puppet at the cost of Taiwan residents' interests.

The collusion between the DPP and the US administration has cost the island dear. It has destroyed cross-Straits peace and stability and dealt a heavy blow to the island's economy, forced Taiwan to purchase US weapons in bulk and open up its market to US pork with ractopamine, a feed additive harmful to human health. In other words, the island has become a victim of the DPP's political agenda.

The profits the US has made by selling weapons and other products to Taiwan show that it has always prioritized profits over commitments. So if the DPP went too far with its "Taiwan independence" agenda and a war broke out across the Straits, the US would be more interested in dumping weapons and goods on Taiwan to squeeze the last bit of the island's resources until it turned into ruins, and left it to fend for itself just as it did to Afghanistan.

The DPP's efforts to buy US support against the mainland by purchasing more US weapons will end up in failure, with the DPP serving US interests without getting anything in return.

It's time the DPP realized that the Taiwan question can be resolved only under the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China, and through peaceful talks and negotiations between two sides of the Straits. And any attempt it makes to split the nation with the support of the US will be put down, if need be, with force.

The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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