Lai's low-key 'stopover' in US embarrassing with furtive and sneaky sense
Published: Aug 17, 2023 03:37 PM
Dozen of political and civil groups in the island of Taiwan in May protest Taiwan?secessionism and US act as the warmonger of?inciting conflicts and make troubles to?harm Taiwan. Photo: Courtesy to Wang Zheng

Dozen of political and civil groups in the island of Taiwan in May protest "Taiwan secessionism" and "US act as the warmonger of inciting conflicts and make troubles to harm Taiwan." Photo: Courtesy to Wang Zheng

The deputy regional leader of Taiwan island Lai Ching-te, who claims to be a "low-key," "pragmatic," and who clings stubbornly to the separatist position for "Taiwan independence," has sneakily made a "stopover" in the US. 

Lai seems a bit quiet this time compared with his previous arrogant attitude on cross-Straits affairs. As early as August 12, The New York Times cited anonymous sources as reporting that Lai "has no plans for major speeches or meetings with prominent members of Congress." 

During a campaign in late July, Lai claimed his political goal is to "walk into the White House," which raised eyebrows, even in Washington. Dennis Wilder, a former White House China official, said the administration was "very anxious" about Lai and wanted "to head off a Chen Shui-bian type situation." Two Taiwan officials familiar with the situation said Washington had "inquired" about the remarks, the Financial Times reported on July 20. 

The Taiwan question is the core of the core interests of China, and China's growing ability to safeguard national unity and territorial integrity has made it clear to the US and the world - they'd better avoid providing blank check for "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces to squander, and to avoid the tension that the US cannot bear. 

Lai's low-key "stopover" in the US is embarrassing with a furtive and sneaky sense. Lai and his likes are losing their strategic value for the US. Washington is unwilling to jeopardize its overall foreign strategy for those calculating individuals who claim to be "pragmatic" but are actually unpredictable. 

Yet at the same time, Washington lacks the courage and wisdom to decisively change its outdated policy and provide substantial support for China's reunification, removing the most critical obstacle to the healthy development of China-US relations. Instead, they still hope to provoke and contain China by playing the "Taiwan card" through this malformed approach - sneaky "stopover", which emerged under special historical circumstances - and maintaining a so-called special relationship with certain political forces that has become increasingly unstable. 

Lai and those of his ilk are well aware of their embarrassing situation. This so-called low-key "stopover" is more like a pet showing its "obedience," "thoughtfulness," and "a goodwill of not to disrupt its owner."

Yet no matter how low-key Lai is, it does not change his separatist stance for "Taiwan independence," or his tactic - clinging to the US to seek "independence." For "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces on the island, as long as Washington continues to sell weapons to Taiwan island, as long as the US allows such "stopover" visits, as long as occasional American figures openly express support via making ambiguous or unscrupulous remarks and as long as the US Congress periodically passes some absurd bills due to Taiwan authorities' dollar diplomacy, it can be interpreted as US "support" for the "Taiwan independence" forces on the island, giving them the audacity to stir up troubles.

Overall, the current "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces and ideology on the island are essentially a mixed and distorted product formed under specific historical conditions. Their continued existence relies mainly on continuous brainwashing and distortion of information to the people on the island. They endlessly exaggerate and distortedly interpret every word and action from the outside world, mainly the US, to achieve a "self-hypnosis" style of "Taiwan independence." Frankly speaking, although the "Taiwan independence" forces deny and resist it in every way, what they are truly consuming is the goodwill and understanding from the Chinese mainland in seeking peaceful reunification and the goodwill for the safety and happiness of the Taiwan compatriots.  

It is evident that compared to the previous performances of some "Taiwan independence" forces, Lai has been trying to reduce the attention on his trip by keeping it low-key, based on the gingerliness of not to be disliked by Washington and not to become a "troublemaker" that embarrasses the US government. However, this does not at all change the essence of him clinging to the US to seek "independence." Today's China will not be easily deceived by the so-called low-key approach, and the corresponding consequences will inevitably follow. 

As the saying goes, thick mountains could not stop the river from flowing into the sea. Regardless how the "Taiwan independence" forces spread false information on the island or perform various shows on a global scale through such "stopover" visits, in the long run, the performance of the "Taiwan independence" forces are destined to diminish. Ultimately, with the unstoppable achievement of China's ultimate reunification, their performance will become a chapter in history, and will be nailed to the historical pillar of ignominy.

The author is director of the Research Institution for Global Cyberspace Governance at Fudan University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn