China's efforts toward national reunification won't stop, US should show sincerity through action, not words: expert
US says 'one China policy' unchanged but 'words are not enough'
Published: Feb 04, 2021 06:58 PM

US President Joe Biden Photo: AFP

US President Joe Biden might not be as provocative as the previous administration led by Donald Trump on the Taiwan question, as the State Department said that the so-called "one China policy" held by the US remained unchanged. Chinese experts noted that the new administration should convince China through actions, not words.

The Chinese mainland's efforts to push national reunification with Taiwan won't be shaken by the changing attitude in Washington, but will be driven by its own historic goal and need to safeguard its core interests, analysts from the mainland told the Global Times on Thursday.

And if the Biden administration wants the two sides of the Taiwan Straits to engage in dialogue, it needs to figure out what the key obstacle to dialogue is - the secessionist authority on the island, which has abandoned the foundation for dialogue in the "1992 Consensus" which respects the one China principle, the experts stressed.  

Asked if the US still supported the "one China policy," State Department spokesman Ned Price told a regular briefing on Wednesday, "Yes ... our policy has not changed," Reuters reported. 

A statement issued by the Biden administration on January 23, its first Saturday in office, expressing strong support for the island of Taiwan in the face of pressure from the Chinese mainland, made no mention of the long-held US policy toward the problem between the two sides of the Straits, the report said. 

Yuan Zheng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday that "the so-called 'one China policy' mentioned by the US is different from the one China principle held by China and broadly recognized among the international community."

The US "one China policy" is a combination of the Three Communiqués (the political foundation for China and the US to establish formal diplomatic ties, which respects the one China principle), the "Taiwan Relations Act" of the US (an unlawful act passed by the US Congress that interferes in China's domestic affairs), and the so-called Six Assurances (the US' informal promises made to the Taiwan authority without notifying the People's Republic of China, the only legitimate representative of China in the world).

"So the Biden administration just recognizes that there is only one China, but it didn't say it will respect the one China principle. But compared to what the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from the Trump administration said previously, this is a less provocative expression," Yuan said.

At this moment, the Biden administration is incapable of making more provocations, as it has many problems that are of greater priority than the Taiwan question, so it chooses to be cautious based on the interests of the US, not China's demands, said Chinese experts, adding that the new administration also has neither the time nor the energy to overturn or roll back the legislations drawn up by the previous administration on the Taiwan question. 

"The best the Biden administration can do is not to make further provocations. But when we communicate with Americans, we stressed that if the US wants to do something to stabilize the situation, words are not enough, we need to see more actions," Yuan said.

"According to some sources from the US, it seems like Biden is withholding the implementation of some arms sale deals with the Taiwan authority signed by the Trump administration," Yuan further said.

"So we need to pay attention to what the US will do exactly, rather than merely listen to what it says," Yuan stressed.

Despite reaffirming that the policy remained unchanged, US military operations in the region that encourage secessionism in Taiwan have not stopped. According to CNN, the US Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Straits on Thursday, the first time a US warship has gone through the waterway since Biden took office.

China has paid close attention to and is fully aware of the situation of the US move of sending a warship through the Taiwan Straits on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a routine press conference on Thursday.

"China will keep alert and be ready to handle all kinds of threats and provocations, and firmly safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope the US will play a constructive role in regional peace and stability, and not the opposite," Wang said.

In the January 23 statement, the US State Department also urged the Chinese mainland "to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan" and "instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan's democratically elected representatives."

Although the words "elected representatives" are less provocative than Pompeo's act of calling the regional leader of the island "Taiwan's president", the Biden administration needs to understand that the key obstacle to cross-Straits dialogue is that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority on the island has abandoned the political foundation for dialogue in the "1992 Consensus" and is instead pursuing secessionism and showing strong hostility toward the mainland, Chinese experts noted.

"So the Biden administration should do something to change the mind of the DPP authority, rather than merely urging the mainland to make efforts," Yuan said.

Zhang Weiwei, a professor and director of the China Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times that the Chinese mainland should and will unshakably push national reunification with Taiwan based on its own interests, and should not reduce its pressure on secessionism only because of the power transition in the US, as Trumpism might return in 2024 with even stronger hostility toward China, and China's strategy should take all possibilities into consideration.

The US State Department has said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations Matt Murray will take part in a closed door meeting with the Taiwan authority. It will be the most senior announced exchange between the Biden administration and the island so far, Reuters reported. 

Car factories around the world are shutting assembly lines due to chip shortages, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the Trump administration's actions against Chinese mainland chip factories, the report said. But Taiwan's authorities on Thursday said the "global shortage of auto chips will not be a main topic" for the meeting with the US official on Friday, according to the report.