US’ new NDAA suggests it is the pushing hand of cross-Straits tension
Published: Dec 25, 2022 10:00 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

In recent years, almost all annual US' National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains content related to the Taiwan island, with an increasing trend. Notably the use of force to support "Taiwan independence" has become a prescribed move of the NDAA. This further exposes that the US defense budget is far from just being used for safeguarding its own defense, but for interfering in internal affairs as well as sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries. It once again demonstrates that the essence of the US defense policy is offensive, rather than defensive.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden signed into law the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2023. This Act groundlessly hypes the so-called China threat narrative and contains a large number of negative provisions on the Taiwan island which seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-US Joint Communiqués.

Washington has groundlessly blazed the so-called China threat constantly. But judging from US' practices in meddling with the Taiwan question as well as the rhetoric of its NDAA, the US defense policy is a growing threat to China's security, particularly in terms of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

According to this year's NDAA, the US has escalated its moves in this regard. For example, the legislation authorized up to $10 billion in security assistance over the next five years to modernize Taiwan's security capabilities to deter aggression by Beijing and to provide the island with up to $2 billion in accordance with the Foreign Military Finance grant and loan assistance program for purchasing US-made weapons and defense equipment. These have never been seen in prior NDAAs.

"This escalation is due to US' more intensified competition with China. Washington is determined to outcompete China in the so-called strategic competition against Beijing," Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. "As a result, Taiwan has naturally become a place of strategic importance for US. The US' policy on Taiwan is out of its geostrategic value, rather than the so-called international justice Washington has repeatedly boasted."

The US is well-aware that the Taiwan question is an Achilles' Heel of China. Without reunification across the Taiwan Straits, China's great rejuvenation would be difficult to fulfill. Against this background, not only has the US administrative branch resorted to tricks, but the legislative branch has spared no effort in playing the Taiwan card.

This is sending a gravely wrong signal to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces. When implementing the Act, especially at the initial state, "Taiwan independence" separatist forces will become more unscrupulous. This may risk pushing the two sides of the Straits to the brink of military clash, severely affecting peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. 

The Biden administration has verbally stated that it will seek to expand cooperation with Beijing, promised "no new Cold War" with China, and claimed it does not support "Taiwan independence" and has no intention to use Taiwan as a tool to seek advantages in competition with China or to contain China. Yet what it has done is at odds with what it said.

According to Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, the Biden administration is just an executor for the US to contain China's development. The US society, especially the Congress, is dominated by conservative forces who regard China as a systematic competitor or even a foe. This has become the political correctness within the US. And the two parties are keeping on the same page in taking advantage of the Taiwan question to serve this end.

A bipartisan consensus or consistency in confronting China will certainly trigger strategic instability in the world and hinder the global development. The US has become a huge threat to global peace and advancement.