Taiwan's hopes for US visit 'wishful thinking', to get nothing

By Yang Sheng Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/18 0:06:38

Krach's trip makes use of Lee memorial event to anger China

US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach alights from an aircraft after landing at the Sungshan airport in Taipei on Thursday. Photo: AFP

US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach's visit to Taiwan can infuriate the Chinese mainland, and he avoided touching on the trade and investment agreement with the island, which can benefit the people of the island, said experts, noting that the US is just making use of rather than helping Taiwan. 

The US also let its ambassador to the UN meet with Taiwan's economic and cultural representative in New York. 

Chinese mainland experts warned that the Trump administration is shaking the political foundations of the China-US relations.

China will make a "necessary response" to a visit by Krach to the island of Taiwan, and China urges the US to stop all forms of official exchanges with the island, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday, ahead of Krach's arrival.

At the routine press conference on Thursday, Wang said that since the US insists on sending Krach to the island of Taiwan, Washington has seriously violated the three joint communiqués between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America, and encouraged Taiwan separatism, and damaged China-US relations and the stability of the Taiwan Straits.

"China expressed firm opposition to this and has made solemn representations to the US," he noted.  

Krach, the most senior US State Department official to visit the island since 1979, arrived in Taipei on Thursday afternoon, according to the Taiwan media focustaiwan.tw. 

He is in Taiwan for a memorial service on Saturday for the island's former regional leader Lee Teng-hui, who is considered the "godfather of Taiwan separatism," with most Chinese people worldwide considering him a traitor of the Chinese nation.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday that sending such a senior official to Lee's memorial service is delivering a clear message - that of US support and encouragement of Lee's ideology, namely the Taiwan separatism.

This is truly dangerous, Li said, because the Trump administration has violated the promise made by the US government when it established diplomatic ties with China in the late 1970s, and has shaken the political foundations of the bilateral relations.

In the December 1978 joint communiqué with China, the US said "the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal Government of China," and "The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China, and Taiwan is part of China."

Taiwan media reported that Krach could also attend an "economic talk," and will focus on the implementation of Taiwan's import of problematic US agriculture products, such as pork containing the additive ractopamine. But eventually, according to the US State Department on Wednesday, Krach will not attend the economic talk. 

Before the formal announcement by the US, the island's pro-separatist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority leaked the possible schedule to the media to give itself more diplomatic credit. This shows the DPP authority's wishful thinking to Washington. But the Trump administration just wants to use it to provoke the Chinese mainland, but is unwilling to offer anything more, such as discussing the possibility of signing a trade and investment agreement with the island, Chinese mainland experts said.  

Chang Ya-chung, a Taipei-based professor at National Taiwan University, told the Global Times previously when Lee died on July 30, "The DPP authority will make full use of his death to gain more international support for its separatist cause."

Washington wants to use Krach's visit to send a clear signal to Beijing - "The island of Taiwan must 100 percent obey the US," and further worsening cross-Straits relations is the priority of Krach's visit, rather than economic or trade issues, Chang said on Thursday. 

The US is using the Lee event to infuriate the Chinese mainland, and avoid talking about economic and trade issues that the residents of the island care about, Chang noted. 

Dangerous move

The US is also trying to provoke China at the UN on the Taiwan question. ABC News reported on Thursday that US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft had lunch on Wednesday with James K.J. Lee, director of the Taipei economic and cultural office in New York. 

A meeting she called "historic" and a further step in the Trump administration's campaign to strengthen relations with the island, Craft said she and Lee "discussed different ways that we can best help Taiwan become more engaged within the UN."

Yuan Zheng, a senior fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday the US knows it is impossible for the US to bring Taiwan into the UN as a formal member, because China is the permanent member of the UN Security Council which can veto such a proposal, and the move will be regarded as a declaration of cutting off diplomatic ties with China, and might lead to a war. But it seems the US is trying to use such tricks to further infuriate the Chinese mainland instead of really helping the island of Taiwan. 

"The Chinese mainland should send a clearer and more powerful warning to the US to let it know how serious the consequences would be," Yuan said.

Li Haidong said if the US wants to support Taiwan to become a UN member, then Article 8 of the Anti-Secession Law of China will be activated, which means China shall use non-peaceful and other necessary means to solve the Taiwan question once and for all.

What China can do 

The China-US relations in 2020 are facing an unprecedented challenge, as Washington is giving up its announced neutrality on the Taiwan question, and openly provoking China's sovereignty. Some Chinese mainland scholars had suggested that the Chinese government remain patient and restrained, as any reaction could be used by the Trump administration to gain greater domestic support for his reelection in November. They suggested that China not be used by the Trump administration. 

A Beijing-based expert on Taiwan affairs who requested anonymity told the Global Times that the US and the DPP authority believe that the Chinese mainland is facing a dilemma, because military retaliation could escalate tensions, and economic sanctions might harm the innocent people of the island and impact regional economic recovery, which is the priority in the post-pandemic era.

"So the US and the Taiwan separatist authority are challenging and provoking the mainland again and again. But they have underestimated the mainland's capability and wisdom," he said.

Taiwan media reported on Thursday that two Chinese mainland anti-submarine aircraft flew into "Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ)" on Wednesday, according to the island's "defense authority."

"Some Taiwan-based experts said the PLA could engage in small-scale military actions, such as striking Taiwan targets with short- or medium-range missiles, and then the fragile economy of the island, which heavily relies on the mainland market, will soon collapse. This is a reasonable speculation to some extent," he noted. 

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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