Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen arrived in Houston for a brief transit stop in the US during her trip to four Central American countries, with which Taiwan has diplomatic ties. On her return, she is expected to transit from San Francisco. Such "transit diplomacy" was favored by the Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian authorities, the significance of which often outweighed the trip to Central America.
Whether Donald Trump
will meet Tsai had generated heated discussions. But the Trump team ruled out meeting Tsai this trip. Trump's team and Tsai did not use Tsai's trip as an opportunity to reinforce previous provocations triggered by the phone call between the two. It is hard to say if they are taking a step back. But the mainland does not fear their provocations. The mainland has seized the initiative. The US and Taiwan now should restrain, or be forced to restrain, themselves.
Tsai had a phone call with Trump, but soon Sao Tome and Principle broke ties with Taiwan. It is certain that more countries will do the same. The US passed bills that allow serving officers to visit Taiwan, while Chinese fighter jets patrolled around Taiwan and China's aircraft carrier passed the island. It is widely expected that the mainland will impose further military pressure. Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes.
Trump is yet to be inaugurated, and there is no need for Beijing to sacrifice bilateral ties for the sake of Taiwan. But in case he tears up the one-China policy after taking office, the mainland is fully prepared. Beijing would rather break ties with the US if necessary. We would like to see whether US voters will support their president to ruin Sino-US relations and destabilize the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing does not need to feel grateful to Trump for not meeting Tsai. The one-China policy is the basic principle reiterated in the three Sino-US joint Communiqués. It is also the foundation of the profound bilateral relationship. Sticking to this principle is not a capricious request by China upon US presidents, but an obligation of US presidents to maintain China-US relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific. If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining.
The Trump-Tsai call indicates the eruption of the Taiwan independence tendency by Tsai authorities. The mainland should mobilize all possible measures to squeeze Taiwan's diplomacy as well as deal a heavy blow to Taiwan's economy. It should also impose military pressure on Taiwan and push it to the edge of being reunified by force, so as to effectively affect the approval rating of the Tsai administration.
We should take Tsai's denial of the 1992 Consensus as a turning point and end the disturbance of Taiwan independence on cross-Straits ties. The Democratic Progressive Party should be made to realize that if it continues to engage in Taiwan independence moves, the political costs will be more than it could bear.