China could respond to Taiwan Travel Act with Anti-Secession Law

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/1 22:08:40

Taiwan Travel Act adds more uncertainty to Asia-Pacific

The passage of the Taiwan Travel Act severely reverses gears of the stable development of Sino-US relations, a Chinese expert said Thursday, adding that Beijing could counter the irresponsible move with its anti-secession law. 

The US Senate unanimously passed the bill on Wednesday that encourages visits between officials from the US and the island at all levels, following a similar approval in the House of Representatives in January.

Some of the bill's clauses, although not legally binding, seriously violate the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiqués, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing on Thursday.

"China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly against the act and has lodged solemn representations with the US side," Hua said.

She said the one-China principle is the political foundation of Sino-US ties.

"We urge the United States to adhere to its commitment to the one-China policy and the three Sino-US joint communiqués, stop official contacts with Taiwan, and prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues in order to avoid damaging China-US ties," Hua stressed.

The Chinese mainland resolutely opposes any form of official or military contact between the US and the island of Taiwan, An Fengshan, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said Wednesday.

The legislation only needs US President Donald Trump's signature to become law. It would be unusual for him to veto a measure that passed unanimously, Reuters reported.

The bill, passed just before China's two sessions - the annual meeting of the country's legislators and political advisers - sends a strong unfriendly message, Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times.

"At such a crucial time for China's political event, the US' irresponsible move increases uncertainty and risks for bilateral ties and reverses the gears of a stable and positive Sino-US relationship," Li said.

However, if Washington crosses the red line, Beijing will not tolerate moves to damage its core interests and will undoubtedly counter with the Anti-Secession Law, he added.

China's Anti-Secession Law provides a series of conditions wherein the Taiwan question is solved through non-peaceful means.

Playing the Taiwan card

The bill's actual effect on Sino-US relations largely depends on how the US implements the bill - such as whether "diplomatic" exchanges would take place between the US and the island, experts said.

The bill permits visits to the US from high-level Taiwan officials, including meetings with defense officials, according to the US Congress website.

Meetings of defense officials between the US and the island are rare, and the bill's passage would promote the meetings to a "defense and diplomatic level," Da Wei, director of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations' Institute of American Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Some US politicians have become increasingly interested in playing the Taiwan card in dealing with China-US relations, the Xinhua News Agency said on February 9, days after the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would help Taiwan restore observer status in the Geneva-based World Health Organization.

Trump's goal is to win over room for the administration's interests amid the adjustment in Sino-US relations, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

Signing the bill could help Republicans attract more votes in the mid-term elections, and the status of Republicans is a priority for the Trump administration at this time, Li said.

However, vetoing the bill would damage some Republicans' reputation as they will be regarded as failing to safeguard the business interests with Taiwan, experts said.

The US move could also result in greater uncertainty in the Asia-Pacific region, with tensions in the Korean Peninsula expected to intensify with upcoming military drills between South Korea and the US, Li said.

Newspaper headline: US’ Taiwan bill hurts ties

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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