GOP lawmakers use China Task Force to boost political careers

By Yang Sheng and Wang Qi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/21 22:07:27 Last Updated: 2020/10/21 23:21:09

Slim chance for bill to pass in Congress; US promises only ‘lip service’

Taiwan Photo:VCG

Anti-China politicians in the US House of Representatives once again proposed a bill to support Taiwan separatism, and to provoke the Chinese mainland by allowing Taiwan authority's personnel to perform official duties in the US, and requiring the Pentagon to prevent the Chinese mainland from reunifying with the island by force.

Mainland analysts said that some Republicans are merely making waves on Taiwan question to save their political careers. 

Mainland observers believe that China is prepared to deal with any scenarios, and will not leave space and time for the US. Majorities of Americans are unwilling to give up the mainland market and commit to a war for the island. To Taiwanese, the US promise to the island is always about lip service that damages its ties with the mainland.   

The House on Tuesday proposed a bill that includes support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations, and requires the US military to maintain an adequate level of deterrence to prevent China from invading Taiwan, Taiwan-based news website reported.

The bill, titled the "China Task Force Act," or CTF Act, includes 137 acts. It was jointly initiated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Republicans' China Task Force and Republican leader of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They expressed hope that the bill would be passed before the current session of Congress expires on January 3.

The acts proposed by the "China Task Force" politicians have not been reported by US mainstream media, while only Taiwan authority-affiliated media outlets reported the news. Mainland experts said this could be a move driven by Taiwan lobby groups in the US to push US politicians to turn risky and provocative ideas into law.

The seven acts related to Taiwan include the Taiwan Assurance Act, "which supports Taiwan's inclusion in international organizations." The Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act instructs the Secretary of Defense to allow "Taiwan's flag to be displayed at US government agencies and on the uniforms of Taiwanese representatives performing official duties in the country." 

The Taiwan Defense Act requires the Department of Defense to maintain the US military's ability to prevent Chinese mainland armed forces "from invading Taiwan and creating a 'fait accompli'."

Analysts believe that the People's Liberation Army's actions, including multiple military drills, in the past few months suggest that once the US or the island of Taiwan crosses the red line, the timetable for resolving the Taiwan question will speed up, leaving no time and space for US interference.

Other acts of the bill include requirements for US government agencies to boost economic, financial and cultural cooperation with Taiwan. 

Taiwan Card

"These Republican lawmakers have close ties with Taiwan," Yuan Zheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday, noting these politicians are seeking support from anti-China forces in the US in the upcoming election. 

In July 2019, Taiwan's regional leader Tsai Ing-wen met with US congressmen in New York, including Michael McCaul, who was viewed as a friendly and popular hawk for Taiwan. 

Taiwan media reported that McCaul actively promoted US arms sales to the island of Taiwan in 2019. It is still unknown what business interests he has with arms dealers.

Although Taiwan's "foreign affairs" authority on Monday expressed gratitude to some US politicians for their pro-Taiwan moves that steadily have promoted ties between US and the island, many Taiwan people view it as just an illusion. 

Shaw Chong-hai, former head of the school of social sciences at Chinese Culture University in Taiwan, told the Global Times that the so-called pro-Taiwan proposals are always a sham and empty talk, and the Taiwan authorities are wielding it to fool the people. 

The mainland needs to calm down and be patient when facing US provocation, Shaw said.  

"Is the DPP authority still asleep? I have never seen such a happy victim," said a Taiwan netizen, reminding others that the Tsai authority has just allowed imports of ractopamine-enhanced pork from the US in exchange for senior US officials' visit to the island. 

"Won't this peril increase cross-Straits tensions? What good will it bring to Taiwan people by provoking the mainland and creating hatred?" said another.

Election preferred

The China Task Force, pieced together by some Republicans, is just a small troupe without any legal status or authority. And most of its members (including its leader, McCaul) are in tight race in the 2020 House election, and face the prospect of losing their seat, Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

"They are trying to create chaos and be visible before the election by using the Taiwan card," Lü added. 

China Task Force is run by 15 Republicans. "Democrats didn't join the group because they found out it was a Trump campaign organization, and won't be very enthusiastic about their proposals," Yuan said. 

The Republicans' proposals are extensions of the Trump administration's policy which will damage China-US ties, said Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, noting the move provokes the one-China principle. 

The US' Taiwan card strategy will continue even under Joe Biden, Li said, noting that Taiwan has lobbied bipartisan US politicians. 

Analysts believe that the "Taiwan card" is the US' greatest bargaining chip against China. It will not be played easily, because once played, it will never be played again. At the moment, McCarthy and McCaul's proposal will have no chance of being debated and reviewed during the current congressional term.

 Republicans are likely to remain in the minority in the next House of Representatives, and the chance of these Taiwan-related proposals passing in the future are slim, Lü said, noting even if they are eventually passed, they would only push Beijing to decisively resolve the Taiwan question. 

Taiwan is a powerful card for the Trump administration, but they are not stupid enough to give up the mainland market for Taiwan and tie themselves to a war across the Taiwan Straits, Yuan said. 


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