US plays Taiwan card to contain China: experts

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/14 21:03:39

A top US Navy officer's visit to China includes a stop in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, which Chinese analysts believe is a sign that the US is highlighting the island of Taiwan in its military talks with China. 

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson began his visit on Sunday. After meeting Chinese navy commander Shen Jinlong and leaders of China's Central Military Commission in Beijing, Richardson will also visit Nanjing, which is the headquarters of China's Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army. 

Richardson tweeted on Monday that he and Shen "completed a constructive and candid discussion, an ongoing dialogue we are both committed to continuing. Our two countries have many aligned interests and all countries benefit from a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific." 

Richardson's visit to Nanjing is seen by many Chinese experts as a sign that the South China Sea issue and Taiwan Island are significant points that the US wants to discuss in this round of military talks, as most military frictions between China and the US happened at sea. 

Ni Feng, a deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, told the Global Times that the US has been using the island of Taiwan as a strategic leverage to contain China. 

"Since the US considers China a strategic competitor, the military has been one of its measures to contain China," Ni said. 

The US Navy's Pacific Fleet drew a classified proposal to carry out a series of operations in the Taiwan Straits as well as the South China Sea, US media reported in October. "Although this did not happen after negotiations between the two sides, the US continues testing China's bottom line by provocative actions," Ni noted.  

China should not assume that the US would reduce its activities in the South China Sea and stop selling weapons to Taiwan, experts warned, noting that China should clarify its bottom line in case the US misjudged it. 

Peng Guangqian, a major general and strategist at China's Academy of Military Sciences, noted that the Taiwan Straits is China's strategic interest and "we have made this point clear at previous bilateral talks."

"Both the Taiwan Straits and South China Sea will be covered during Richardson's visit, and the important thing is finding out whether the US is serious about the talks," Peng said.  

US President Donald Trump on December 31 signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which reaffirms US commitment to Taiwan, including arms sales.

Newspaper headline: US ‘uses Taiwan’ to contain China


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