Leaders’ statement shows Quad’s tricks, Taiwan island’s fantasies
Published: Sep 26, 2021 09:53 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The island of Taiwan was not mentioned in the Joint Statement from Quad Leaders, which was released on Friday after their first face-to-face summit in Washington DC. China was not, either. 

The island of Taiwan was not mentioned due to the four Quad countries' dispute over whether the bloc should be used as a tool to deal with the Taiwan question. The dispute appears deep despite Washington's wishes to make the Taiwan question a topic of the Quad. This reflects the reality that the four countries have their own calculations.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority in Taiwan is trying to make the US and its minions a backstop to seek secession. But such ideas are nothing but self-delusions of secessionist forces on the island. To Washington, the DPP authority and the island ruled by DPP serve only as a tool for the US to confront China. Washington will never be at the service of the island, let alone sacrifice its own interests for those secessionists. The DPP is dreaming fantasies. 

Nonetheless, the joint statement still emphasizes that the Quad "will continue to champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas." 

The four countries indeed have something in common: They all value maritime power, which they believe is the key to determine current and future international order, especially Asia-Pacific regional order. Therefore, they aim to shape a maritime order that meets their demands, and use it to reconstruct regional landscape.

To achieve this goal, the four countries' actions will be different. Coordination in diplomacy and security spheres will be included. It will be normal for Quad members to support each other in major international occasions and discussions over vital topics. For example, they may enhance the Quad mechanism through petty actions like joint military exercises to constantly create regional tensions. In the meantime, they will not stop hyping up the "China threat" theory.

From this perspective, the Quad is a mechanism born for the sake of finding faults, especially with China. It mainly serves the US' approach to reshape Indo-Pacific order and consolidate "America First" in the region. Therefore, all Quad moves will echo the US' strategic needs. 

The Quad said nothing about "China" in its leaders' statement, but it undoubtedly targeted at China implicitly. Such diplomatic tricks show the lack of diplomatic wisdom of Washington. The tricks aimed to help the Quad gain support from as many countries as possible. So, if the four countries bluntly suggest the bloc as a mechanism for creating regional division and confrontation, all regional countries will reject it. 

That being the case, the joint statement is trying to position the bloc as a "defender of regional security" by not explicitly naming any country. However, such a maneuver will be despised by anyone with some common sense about international affairs. 

The US is losing it dignity as a major power. It is becoming pettier and pettier in terms of diplomacy. It calculates every penny, but acts horribly on macro issues. It is purely creating new crises, new divisions, and new confrontations in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Evan Feigenbaum and James Schwemlein, two scholars of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the Quad "has suffered from a lack of purpose and a lack of definition." It can be confirmed that the four members can hardly deliver their own calculations. As the four countries still don't have a consensus on defining the Quad, the bloc has a problem in sustaining itself. 

In any way, Washington wants to use the Quad as a core mechanism to deal with China. But here comes a dilemma: When economic needs and strategic needs conflict, some countries often sacrifice economic needs for strategic needs. But in today's world, economic and strategic needs overlap. This means relevant choices are difficult for many to make.

Still, the Quad will probably continue to exist for a long time. The Biden administration wishes to use the bloc to gain more support in the name of multilateralism against China. But the story won't go as the US wishes. The more Washington upholds the Quad, the more countries will see through the essence of the bloc - which is a pure creator of crisis, confrontation, chaos, and antagonism. Thus, the Biden administration's goal to legitimize its campaign will be resisted by more and more countries. 

The author is professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn