How should mainland react to C-17 strategic aircraft landing in Taiwan?: Global Times editorial
Published: Jun 06, 2021 11:43 PM
Tsai Ing-wen Photo:VCG

Tsai Ing-wen Photo:VCG

Three US senators arrived in the island of Taiwan on Sunday morning in a whirlwind visit. They took a military transport aircraft, a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, instead of a civilian plane that normally performs such tasks, which has received extra attention. Undoubtedly, the US and island of Taiwan are making further provocations with salami-slicing tactics which they have designed for this provocation.

Neither US nor Taiwan authorities deliberately highlighted or discussed the C-17. However, The island's green camp media have talked about it repeatedly and were very excited. They claimed that the C-17 is the US military's strategic and tactical transport aircraft and is the main means of the US military's rapid and long-range transportation. They also said this is the "first landing" in Taiwan and is of "great significance." Western media also said the appearance of a C-17 is "unusual." US and Taiwan authorities have downplayed the C-17 but Taiwan media amplified its significance. They want to make the landing of C-17 in the island a fact that must be accepted by the mainland, paving the way for the US and Taiwan to further escalate their collusion.

The Taiwan authorities know that they are taking a risk and may trigger an escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Straits. However, they need more tension in the area at this moment because of the severe epidemic situation, the increasing COVID-19 death toll and people's rapidly rising dissatisfaction. What they want to do most is to shift the island's attention to the mainland, using the cross-Straits conflict as a distraction from the dispute between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities and the people of Taiwan, and make the Taiwan residents believe that the high COVID-19 death toll in Taiwan is the price of confronting the mainland.

The Taiwan authorities have rejected the mainland's vaccines in such a critical situation because they are worried their so-called anti-China policies will fail if they accept mainland vaccines. However, they are in a very difficult situation and there is little hope of containing the epidemic with the current policies. By trying to find a way out, they have pushed themselves to a dead end of escalating cross-Straits confrontation.

For the mainland, we should not allow the US-Taiwan salami-slicing tactics to gain breakthrough because otherwise they would get bolder and intensify their provocation in the future. The Chinese mainland should also be wary of the current dilemma of the DPP authorities and avoid helping them out of the predicament. How we react will be a comprehensive test of will and wisdom.

A series of actions of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, including circumventing Taiwan and flying across the middle line of the Straits, have already deterred the Taiwan authorities. The mainland needs to maintain the seriousness of this deterrence and must not allow the Taiwan secessionist forces to become rampant again. In the meantime, none of our countermeasures should provide major excuses to the DPP authorities, who are in distress now, to shift Taiwan people's emotion, incite grievances, shirk their responsibility for the failure on the fight against COVID-19 and make confrontation with the mainland as the new focus of Taiwan's public opinion.

How to deal with the salami-slicing tactics of the US and Taiwan? This should be oriented toward the ultimate solution of the Taiwan question and the achievement of good results. This principle is crucial.

Now, the mainland's military advantage over Taiwan is overwhelming. We also have the ability to prevent the US' military intervention if a serious cross-Straits crisis happens. The mainland already has the dominant power to decide how and the pace to resolve the Taiwan question. In other words, we have the actual freedom to take actions that we believe are necessary. What we need to consider is that the effects must be positive and political benefits must outweigh the costs by far.

We must make good use of such dominant position, which means that we cannot be led by the US and Taiwan but must become an active player. So far, the mainland's military deployment and strength display in the Taiwan Straits have been very successful. Both the Taiwan authorities and the US government have felt the pressure and the DPP authorities are in panic. The US and Taiwan really want to regain their initiative but their strength can no longer keep up. Taiwan's COVID-19 fight has been a mess and the Taiwan authorities can only play tricks to make up for their mistakes and create an illusion that they are still dominating the situation in the Taiwan Straits.

Finally, we should believe the mainland can once again defeat the conspiracy between the US and Taiwan. If we are confident in our own strength we do not need to worry if the mainland will suffer a strategic loss. China is looking at the overall situation to make a big plan and it will not lack strategic courage or wisdom because it will represent the sum of Chinese people's courage and wisdom.