Lai's relying on US for 'Taiwan independence' cold-shouldered; Mainland has enough options to counter secessionist moves: analyst
Published: Aug 17, 2023 11:41 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 separatist deputy regional leader of Taiwan island Lai Ching-te has been snubbed by the US, as he made a "stopover" in San Francisco on Thursday, his second during this trip, as his act of soliciting support from the US for "Taiwan independence" saw no participation of senior US political figures, with experts saying that the Chinese mainland has enough strength and options to take countermeasures against Lai's separatist acts, and these could be seen soon after Lai returns to Taiwan.

Lai, also a candidate of the separatist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the 2024 Taiwan regional leader's election, stopped briefly in San Francisco on his way back to Taipei and had a banquet with his supporters and some local guests in the US city during his short stay, during which he once again propagated his political view by crowing about "peace" and "democracy" to cover up his dangerous and unrealistic separatist stance. 

The event was attended by Laura Rosenberger, chair of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a US government-run institute that handles unofficial relations with the island. She was the most senior representative at the banquet. 

This is truly embarrassing for Lai, said experts, as even those former senior officials who currently have no official title but previously showed high-profile encouragement to the separatist DPP authorities while in office, such as Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pompeo, did not show up to support Lai. This just proves that Lai was totally snubbed during his two "stopovers" in New York and San Francisco, analysts noted.

"The Biden administration is trying to focus on elections next year, and wants to stabilize China-US relations, so the US is temporarily restraining the separatist Lai at this moment," but cross-Straits tensions are caused by the major power competition launched by the US against China, so the future of the Taiwan Straits situation is not very optimistic, said Ting Shou-chung, a former Taiwan politician and chair of Bridge Across the Strait Foundation.

Ting, also a member of the Kuomintang, a major opposition party in the island, told the Global Times at a forum of cross-Straits studies held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province on Thursday that "we don't want Taiwan to be used by the US to serve its major power competition against China. If Lai gets elected and pushes his separatist ideas and triggers the danger of war, the US will turn the island into a powder keg. This is not what the people of Taiwan want to see."

Unwelcome troublemaker

Apart from receiving the cold shoulder from the US, Lai was also met with protests from locals who support the one-China principle and oppose US' interference in the Taiwan question, and also oppose Taiwan separatists who bring more problems to China-US tensions. 

According to a report by World Journal, a major Chinese-language newspaper in the US, about 100 protesters made up of overseas Chinese and local Americans gathered outside the hotel where Lai held his event. They held banners carrying slogans such as "There is only one China in the world", "Oppose Taiwan independence!" and "Taiwan separatism is a dead end."

Some protesters who immigrated to the US decades ago told the media that they have always believed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and many overseas Chinese who came from Taiwan also support the one-China principle. They criticized Lai's activity in the US, saying it will further damage ties between the mainland and Taiwan.

Liu Baohai, one of the protesters, told the World Journal, "I hope China can be reunified peacefully" and said separatists like Lai will bring the danger of war to people on the island of Taiwan. 

Richard Becker, a member of A.N.S.W.E.R (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, also joined to protest, and held a banner with the slogans "US hands off China" and "Stop China bashing." He told the media that they are concerned about a potential war between China and the US, and said that unfortunately, the US is using the Taiwan question against China.

He said the US act of arming Taiwan and helping Taiwan authorities to train its military forces violated the China-US Three Communiqués and offended China's sovereignty, according to the World Journal. 

The Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco said in a statement released on Wednesday that Lai is using his "transit" as a pretext for activities in the US that are aimed at building momentum for his campaign for the Taiwan regional leader's election and seeking US support for "Taiwan independence." 

"Driven by selfish purposes, he has gone so far as to betray the interests of the Chinese nation and the general public, and undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. As such, he is indeed a troublemaker," read the statement.

Mainland's countermeasures

To deter and counter Lai's separatist move in the US, the Chinese mainland will surely take actions, and "the mainland has plenty of measures and enough strength to effectively deter Taiwan separatists and the US' forces who stand behind them," said Zheng Jian, director of the National Taiwan Studies Association and chair professor at the Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University.

"We can see the countermoves soon, and it might happen in the next few days," Zheng told the Global Times at the forum in Chengdu on Thursday.

China's Ministry of Commerce on Monday announced that tariffs will be levied on polycarbonate (PC) imports from the Taiwan region starting from Tuesday as an anti-dumping measure, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

PC imports from Taiwan have engaged in dumping activities, causing concrete damage to the mainland's PC industry, the commerce ministry said in a statement, citing a preliminary investigation. PC can be used in a number of fields such as electronic appliances, automobiles, optics, packaging and medical devices.

On Thursday, China's Ministry of Commerce said, "A preliminary investigation shows that Taiwan region's restrictions on products from the Chinese mainland are suspected of violating the World Trade Organization rules."

The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Thursday released a video about combat training titled "Inspecting the Straits," which included scenes of a massive amphibious landing operation. Experts on the Taiwan question told the Global Times that the purpose of releasing this video at this sensitive time is very clear - to show that the theater command has paid a great deal of attention to the relevant situation on the Taiwan question, and is a warning to Taiwan separatist forces that have acted frequently in recent days.

To those Taiwan separatists and foreign interference forces, the Chinese mainland has prepared everything that "they are afraid of," and "we will use these measures when the timing is appropriate, as we have enough capabilities in the fields of politics, economy as well as military," Zheng said. 

Some extreme separatists like Lai understand how dangerous it could be if they continue heading toward the dead end of pursuing "Taiwan independence" and keep resisting China's reunification process, but they insist on making their dangerous moves to selfishly serve their own political interests, and this makes them not only "troublemakers" but also "disaster-makers," Zheng noted.