‘Taiwan card’ could cost US global leadership

‘Taiwan card’ could cost US global leadership

China Daily

On Friday, mainland China announced sanctions against a staunch separatist, Michelle Hsiao, and two organizations advocating “Taiwan independence” in the name of “freedom” and “democracy.”

This is only the beginning of the mainland’s countermeasures. The Taiwan authorities must pay the price for Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen’s “transit” to the United States. She has just returned from a visit to two Central American countries.

The U.S. and Taiwan have been playing this game for some time, with Washington easing restrictions on some Taiwanese officials transiting through U.S. cities.

After Washington broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979 and established diplomatic ties with Beijing, it no longer allowed Taiwanese officials to disembark during border crossings, sending only division-level officials on board to greet them.

However, the Biden administration not only allowed Tsai Ing-wen to transit the United States more than once, but also allowed her to stay in the United States for a few days during the transit and participate in high-profile public programs. This time, Kevin McCarthy, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, even led an 18-member congressional group to meet Tsai Ing-wen in California.

America’s long-standing creed is to maintain its global leadership. But by playing this dirty game with Tsai, America has discredited its leadership and jeopardized its security and well-being.

It was the United States that brought China into its allies during World War II, partnered with China to defeat a militarized and expansionist Japan at the time, and ensured that Japan handed over the island of Taiwan to China in 1945.

It was the United States that shifted its official recognition from Taiwan to Beijing in 1979 to shape a counter-hegemonic international community. At that time, the United States agreed that “the United States of America recognizes the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China.” It also agreed to withdraw all troops stationed in Taiwan and terminate a mutual defense agreement with Taiwan.

When former U.S. President Clinton visited Shanghai in 1998, he promised that “we do not support Taiwan independence, we do not support two Chinas, and we do not support one Taiwan, one China,” adding that “we do not believe that Taiwan should be independent.” Membership of any organization for which national identity is a requirement”.

However, McCarthy referred to Tsai Ing-wen as the “president”, which seriously violated the promise of the US side, and even violated the so-called one-China policy of the US side. The presence of approximately 30 U.S. military personnel in Taiwan, a recent decision reportedly to quadruple their numbers in the coming months, and the sale of increasing arms to Taiwan are grave violations of the three U.S. Promises in the trade war. joint communiqué.

America goes further. Passed by the Congress in 2018, the then president signed the “Taiwan Travel Act”, allowing US and Taiwan officials at all levels to visit each other. Under the law, Tsai and her successor can make official visits to the United States — not just transit — if Washington extends such an invitation.

Over the past few decades, the United States has seriously weakened the foundation of Sino-US relations. But if it plans to actually have a formal relationship with Taiwan, it will not enjoy the benefits of maintaining a formal relationship with Beijing.

Will U.S. global leadership be strengthened in any way when such a moment of redefining relations arrives? If that moment comes, it will be the result of America’s decline in credibility and power, not otherwise.

(The author is a professor and former executive dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University)

Views expressed do not reflect China Daily.

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