Washington's provocations lead to 'new normal' of power balance in Taiwan Straits
Published: Aug 16, 2022 04:38 PM

Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

The latest round of tensions in the Taiwan Straits, triggered by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan island, as well as a recent US congressional delegation to the island, has come to a new period. An increasing number of observers and researchers have found that the cross-Straits situation has ushered into a "new normal."

The "new normal" can be seen through China's latest response, with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command announcing an organization of joint combat-readiness security patrol and combat training exercise in waters and airspace around Taiwan island on Monday. The PLA Eastern Theater Command later released a video clip that showed a pilot looking down at Penghu islands during the drills on the same day, and noted this is a solemn deterrent to the US and the Taiwan authorities, which have repeatedly played political tricks and undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.

These developments mirror the "new normal"-- patrols with far-reaching and substantive influence responding to the politicized visits of US officials will be normalized, and the PLA's sea and air forces will eventually and effectively cover the entire Taiwan Straits. This will be an unstoppable trend, as well as a key feature in this new normal. This will make it one of the most effective and the most ironic responses to US politicians' attempt to manipulate Taiwan question. 

Based on relevant analysts, there are three signs to prove the "new normal." 

First, the so-called median line has completely disappeared. Taiwan's so-called territorial waters and airspace, claimed by the Taiwan authorities, have been overturned by facts. After the military exercises and training activities, there is no term like "operation ended" in the Chinese mainland's announcement. Instead, it went "all tasks accomplished" and will "organize normalized combat-readiness security patrol" in the Taiwan Straits. It means the Chinese mainland has, from a military perspective, comprehensively practiced and strengthened the control of the cross-Straits region. 

Second, in the global diplomatic game, elicited by Pelosi's visit, over 170 sovereign countries in the world have reiterated their commitment to the one-China principle. This is the voice of mainstream international society. The US could get together its core allies, defining and advocating its own interpretations on one-China principle by playing word-games. But obviously, it can hardly shake the mainstream understanding of the global community. 

Third, China has recently published a white paper, the "The Taiwan Question and China's Reunification in the New Era," which clearly shown the world the future path to resolve the Taiwan question, as well as the future fate of the island, clarifying the development orientation of the Taiwan question. 

The appearance of the above-mentioned three signs, in the words of Chinese netizens' jokes, comes from the "special and great contribution" from Pelosi and her likes, who insisted on their reckless visit to Taiwan. 

Pelosi herself is also under pressure. This can be a proof - soon after leaving Taiwan, Pelosi kept silent on Taiwan-related topics on social media for a while. The situation lasted for days until she accepted an interview with NBC, in which she took US President Joe Biden and the Pentagon as the scapegoat. She said, the visit "followed on the President's direction that we would have a focus on the Asia-Pacific" and "I don't remember them ever telling us not to go." She even had a tongue slip - calling Taiwan island as China. These all can be seen as how anxious and uneasy she feels after failing this gamble.  

There is sufficient evidence to show that Taiwan independence forces have long been making political donations to US anti-China politicians, initiating visits and hyping up topics, creating political legacies, and this has resulted in US politicians' visit. They made the decision to fulfill their "duties" after taking money. 

This is a pure political gamble. The reckless behavior of politicians like Pelosi stems from the "status quo" in their eyes: the US, the superpower emerging after the end of the World War II, has established the hegemonic order, backed by its advantages all over the world, including the Taiwan Straits. In the game under this order, US politicians can do whatever they want without worrying about any cost. 

Yet the visits by US politicians to Taiwan stimulated a change in the Taiwan Straits, causing the regional situation to enter a new normal, which reflects the real balance of power between China and the US. China is defending its territorial and sovereign integrity with solid strength, firm will, and clear policies in the Taiwan Straits. China is striving for achieving national reunification. This will undoubtedly become the new normal in the Taiwan Straits. 

The author is director of the Fudan University Cyberspace Research Center. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn