Taiwan island, the US stand to lose more than they gain from opportunistic meeting between Tsai and McCarthy
Published: Apr 04, 2023 08:28 PM
US anti-war organization Center for Political Innovation protests against Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen's transit in New York on March 29. Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Maupin

US anti-war organization Center for Political Innovation protests against Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen's transit in New York on March 29. Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Maupin

With the imminent meeting between Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday local time, nothing new is worth anticipating, as it will be another photo op, a political show where participants dig their personal interests, and in the end, they will only face the fact: both of them will lose more than they gain. 

McCarthy's office confirmed on Monday he will host a bipartisan meeting with Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, California, on Wednesday. According to reports, Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House Select Committee on China, will join.

For some members of US Congress, time has come, again, to take photo with an "internet celebrity," something they could "show off" to woo their voters in the future, experts said. For McCarthy, he has more personal reason: it's time to deliver what he promised.

McCarthy previously stated, in a high-profile manner, that he would visit Taiwan island after becoming House speaker. Shortly after he assumed office, speculation was once rife. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities were quite concerned that Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s encirclement exercises around Taiwan island could take place all over again, thus showed quite some resistance to McCarthy's possible visit to the island. In the end, the venue for the meeting changed. "From this perspective, Chinese mainland's deterrence actions against Taiwan island, especially after Nancy Pelosi's reckless visit in August last year, have had some effect," Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

For quite a few American politicians, exaggerating the so-called challenges China poses to the US and playing up the "China threat" narrative have become a common tactic to gain personal political influence. When it comes to the Taiwan questions specifically, the US Congress has become a major trouble maker adding fuel to the fire, Zhu Feng, a professor at Nanjing University, told the Global Times. The coming meeting between Tsai and McCarthy is the latest item of evidence. 

In addition to McCarthy, Gallagher's participation in the meeting is also drawing some attention. On March 30, he introduced the STAND with Taiwan Act. A month ago, he said that Russia-Ukraine conflict has been wake-up call for Taiwan island to stockpile weapons. Now, when McCarthy is colluding with Taiwan secessionist forces, Gallagher stands with McCarthy, who appointed him as the chairman of the House Select Committee on China. According to Zhu, the two of them together may aim to create an image that on the Taiwan question, they represent the general voice of the US House of Representatives. In other words, they attempt to wrap the political show with something more "decent."

However, allowing the Taiwan regional leader to "transit" through the US itself is a mistake on Washington's part. On March 29, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning underlined, "Past mistakes do not justify any new mistake. Repeating a mistake does not make it legitimate. The trip is not so much a 'transit,' but an attempt to seek breakthroughs and propagate 'Taiwan independence.'" 

The US has been continually enriching the substance of the Taiwan leaders' "transit" through the country, including offering opportunities to deliver speeches and to meet with American officials. Chinese mainland will not accept the two sides playing this dangerous game.

On Tuesday, Mao stressed again that China firmly opposes the US' arrangement for Tsai's "transit" trip to the US and a meeting between her and McCarthy, because it seriously contravenes the one-China principle and provisions in the three China-US joint communiqués and gravely undermines China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese side will closely monitor the situation as it develops and resolutely defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity, she added.  

Experts said that in the face of US' moves to damage China's core interests, China has its ways to make the US feel the pain. And for Taiwan secessionist forces, China's response is on the way. PLA forces close to the island of Taiwan recently held intensive maritime and air exercises, commissioned new weapons and equipment prior to meeting between Tsai and McCarthy. And Taiwan's "Ministry of National Defense" tweeted on Tuesday, "20 PLA aircraft and 3 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m.(UTC+8) today." 

This is a message to the US and Taiwan secessionist forces: The more frequent their collusion becomes, the faster the process of resolving the Taiwan question via non-peaceful means will be, Shen said.  

In response to US' constant moves to play the Taiwan card, the PLA has been intensifying military preparations. This preparation has a clear target, aiming at actual combat, and is intended to make American anti-China politicians understand: playing the Taiwan card will lead to a dead end, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told Global Times.

Peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, including peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, is the biggest dividend for all sides, including Chinese mainland, Taiwan island, and the US. Once peace is lost, disaster will strike, Song added. 

The meeting between Tsai and McCarthy will not bring any tangible benefit to the US or Taiwan island, but will make the world, especially countries in the Asia-Pacific region, clearly witness, once again, the sinister intentions of the US to sow the seeds of crises, turmoil, and chaos in the region.

The author is a reporter with Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn