The US will not encourage Taiwan to declare independence, but in the meantime will not sit back and watch China use force to conquer Taiwan in any case, said Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, on Tuesday. He said the message US President-elect Donald Trump
is sending to Beijing is that China should not be so "strong and aggressive."
As a firm supporter of Trump, Gingrich is considered as one of the influential figures in Trump's team, yet he is not in the cabinet. According to his own words, he does not want to join the administration and intends "to be focused on strategic planning."
It is uncertain to what extent Gingrich's remarks represent Trump and his team. But he stated the Republican Party's traditional mindset as well as the US' long-standing policy over the Taiwan Straits when he simultaneously stressed that Washington did not support Taiwan independence and would not accept reunification through military force.
Time will tell after Trump's team takes over the US, whether it will willfully utilize the one-China policy as leverage to blackmail Beijing or restrain itself in actual practice.
In any case, the current farce has made China vigilant.
It is possible for Washington to activate the Taiwan card in a crude manner at any moment. The tacit understanding and hidden rules made between China and the US over the Taiwan Straits can hardly be respected for long. Even the one-China policy can be attacked unexpectedly. That mirrors the fact that we are far from able to control the destructiveness of the Taiwan question.
The long-stalled puzzle over Taiwan has turned into a huge cost in China's rise and so far there is no sign that this cost will contract.
If the Chinese mainland won't pile on more pressure over realizing reunification by using force, the chance of peaceful unification will only slip away. Independent forces on the island publicly believe that time is on their side, because Taiwan people's recognition of their Chinese identity is gradually decreasing and against such a backdrop, they can turn the tables with the help of international forces.
It might be time for the Chinese mainland to reformulate its Taiwan policy, make the use of force as a main option and carefully prepare for it. Once Taiwan independence forces violate the Anti-Secession Law, the Chinese mainland can in no time punish them militarily. Moreover, getting ready to achieve reunification through the use of force can pose a serious deterrence to Taiwan independence.
The military status quo across the Taiwan Straits needs to be reshaped as a response and punishment to the current administration of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s destruction of the political status quo in cross-Straits ties. And we should also foster forces which support reunification through a variety of ways on the island.
The future of Taiwan must not be shaped by the DPP and Washington, but by the Chinese mainland. It is hoped that peace in the Taiwan Straits won't be disrupted. But the Chinese mainland should display its resolution to recover Taiwan by force. Peace does not belong to cowards.