US attempts to misguide world with false propositions over Taiwan question
Published: Apr 25, 2023 08:41 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Editor's Note:

Gao Zhikai (Gao), vice president of the Center for China and Globalization, recently appeared on Al Jazeera's program "Inside Story" and had a fierce debate with an American scholar, during which he slammed the US' false propositions in terms of the Taiwan question. What are the sophistries put forward by the American scholar about Taiwan? How high is the risk of a military conflict between China and the US? And what impacts will the 2024 election in Taiwan bring to the current cross-Straits situation? Global Times (GT) reporter Wang Zixuan talked to Gao over these issues.

GT: In that TV program, what sophistry the American scholar has made on the Taiwan question? Is it a typical view in the West?

Gao: The Taiwan situation is fast becoming an exclusive issue between China and the US. The US has misled itself, its allies and many people in Taiwan about the real status of Taiwan. In my debate with June Teufel Dreyer and another panelist from Taiwan, the contrast is very sharp. June believed that the US only acknowledged the one-China principle and Taiwan being part of China in 1979, literally meaning that Taiwan can decide its future by its own means. The truth is that the PRC government is the sole legitimate government of China, so it is completely illogical for the US government to claim that they can defend Taiwan from the so-called invasion by the Chinese mainland.

What June presented is a false proposition. The US government's position regarding Taiwan is a position of illogicality, illegitimacy, illegality and unsustainability. In recent years, the US has always said Taiwan is so important strategically and in semiconductor manufacturing so that it is considered more or less as a country. In terms of this false proposition, I emphasize that you can't say you love California and the Silicon Valley is so important that you want to urge its independence from the US. No American would agree to that. So why should anyone in the US have the fantasies to believe that they can carve out Taiwan away from China?

Some people, like June, continue to argue that the status of Taiwan is not clear. I urged them to read the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Agreement, if anyone really believes in the international order post World War II and emphasizes the rules-based international relations, they need to agree with the unconditional surrender by the Japanese fascists, including the unconditional surrender of Taiwan back to China. No one should pretend that they don't know this, or mislead themselves and the rest of the world.

I think we need to elaborate on all these details so that everyone in Taiwan will know that it will be completely futile for them to seek Taiwan independence, because it will be, ironically, a violation of the international law and the rules established by the unconditional surrender of the Japanese fascists in 1945.

GT: From former US house speaker Nancy Pelosi's reckless visit to Taiwan to Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen's "transit" through the US, what changes have happened in the Taiwan Straits situation?

Gao: My personal view is that the US right now suffers from distorted syndrome. The US has been traumatized by two nightmares created by itself. One is that China will surpass the US in the size of economy. The other is that China will become the next superpower to impose its political system, ideology and social values onto the US.

From the Chinese perspective, this is completely wrong. In the first place, China has legitimacy and right to develop its economy in a peaceful way. I would even say that any country which wants to deprive the Chinese people of their right to economic development will be guilty of the largest crime against humanity in human history. No one should be allowed to achieve their goal of derailing China's peaceful development. In addition, either in the past, at present or in the future, China will not become a superpower and impose its wills and political system onto the other countries.

The US is confusing the two things. In the US, there is a fantasy called "Destined for War" between China and the US based on the Thucydides's Trap theory produced by Graham Allison. All the wars analyzed by Allison, without exception, were conventional wars. China and the US are not only conventional powers, but also nuclear powers. It is completely unscientific to impose the conclusions by analyzing conventional wars onto China and the US. I firmly believe that war is not and should not be an option, and there should be inevitable peace between China and the US. The inevitability of peace doesn't mean that China and the US should love each other, but means that the two countries should get along with each other despite all their differences.

As a matter of fact, the differences between China and the US should not be what divide them, it should be what unite them. Many people in Washington believe that if a war breaks out, the US will prevail against China. This is again dangerously false, because war between the two nuclear powers will soon get out of control and escalate from conventional war into nuclear war. That will be a holocaust to mankind as a whole.

GT: China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang made a speech on Friday at the Lanting Forum in Shanghai, saying that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China, and it is right and proper for China to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity, those who play with fire on Taiwan will eventually get themselves burned. What do you think of this statement?

Gao: I think ever since he became the Chinese foreign minister, Qin Gang has been increasingly clear in defining China's position about Taiwan. It is the US and those separatists in Taiwan who want to change the status quo of cross-Straits relations. The US Congress has enacted many bills to hollow out the one-China policy, which is a direct violation of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

If anyone in Washington pretends not to understand the full meaning of what Foreign Minister Qin says about the wrongful and long-term violation by the US of the one-China policy, when the consequences are really created, no one should pretend to be an innocent party to the tragedy initiated by the US rather than by China.

GT: Some US officials and Western media frequently speculate a war between China and the US over the Taiwan question. How high is the risk of a military conflict between the two countries over Taiwan question?

Gao: The US right now believes in "having your cake and eating it", because it still wants to maintain diplomatic relations with China while goes further and further in the direction of treating Taiwan as a sovereign state. It is ridiculous and ludicrous for the US to think about sending US troops to fight for Taiwan independence. First of all, it will be completely against the fundamental interests of the American people. By doing so, the US will cause a severance of diplomatic relations with China and offend the 1.4 billion people in China, is this in the American interest or against the American interest? I think the conclusion should be very self-evident.

Secondly, if war breaks out between China and the US, it will be a war to defend China's sovereignty and to achieve China's national unification. Whereas for the US, it will not be a war of justice because it is directly in violation of the commitments of the US to China.

Thirdly, ironically, if war does break out, anyone with some basic knowledge will conclude as I do. Taiwan is the only piece of Chinese territory not yet reunited, the violation of the one-China policy by the US will trigger the resurrection of the unfinished civil war.

The risk for the US is that if a war does break out, when the dust settles, the US may lose the war. Then what will be the global consequence for the US as a major power in the world? I don't think decision makers in Washington really want to make such calculation that they eventually will lose everything, including their legitimacy as one of the greatest countries in the world.

GT: The US has gained geopolitical benefits by messing up Europe through the escalating Ukraine war. Some believe that the US is likely to do the same in Asia by dragging China into a war in the Taiwan Straits. What's your take on this? Is the US only using Taiwan as a pawn? What does that mean for the people of Taiwan?

Gao: As I mentioned, if the US can't wake up from this confused nightmare, they may conclude that the only way to prevent China from surpassing the US and prevent the US from losing its hegemony is to find a war against China. If anyone believes that they will gain material advantage out of a war like this, then they should be indulged in fantasy. It's not real. Geopolitics doesn't work that way, and military initiatives don't work that way.

Now the US most likely wants to use those separatists in Taiwan in a proxy war. This is very dangerous. I truly believe that for two nuclear powers like China and the US, it will be clearly one of the worst fantasies that anyone can dream of if they want to promote a war between China and the US.

GT: Taiwan's regional leader election will be held on January 13 2024. What impacts will it bring to the Taiwan Straits situation?

Gao: I hope people in Taiwan in the coming general election will think about peace and try to avoid a war. The war, if ever breaks out, will not be initiated by China, but will be initiated by the US and the Taiwan separatists. The choice, to a very large extent, is in the hands of the Taiwan voters. If they want to vote for those separatists and politicians, regardless of what China has been warning them again and again, then they will push Taiwan into an abyss.

If they want to have stability, prosperity and enhanced exchanges of all kinds between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, then they should vote for peace, that is, peaceful cross-Straits relations. If you take out the trade surplus in its trade with the Chinese mainland, Taiwan actually faces a huge trade deficit, so if China really wants to toughen up and do punitive measures against Taiwan, its economy will be depressed, share prices will tank, and living standards of Taiwanese may suffer.

However, the Chinese government doesn't want to use this kind of economic leverage against people in Taiwan, because making the Taiwanese people to go through economic hardships is not what China desires. China's retaliations against Taiwan are focused on those separatists and those leaders who disregard the mega trend in cross-Straits relations and violate peace and stability.

Therefore, I think the voters in Taiwan in 2024 will have a major opportunity to make their voices really known, and I hope people in Taiwan will make the right choice for peace and cooperation. Otherwise, if there is the only winner, it will be the US, because it will reap huge benefits by initiating a resurrected cold civil war between the Chinese mainland and China's Taiwan province, which will result in huge losses to cross-Straits people. The US probably will just cheer that they pull this off, and the Chinese on the both sides of the Taiwan Straits will be fighting against each other rather than engaging each other in peace and promoting mutual prosperity.