Mainland slams Lai in sending ‘dangerous signal’ in speech
Any external forces manipulating "Taiwan card" to contain China doomed to fail: experts
Published: May 20, 2024 10:43 PM Updated: May 20, 2024 10:47 PM
Condoning separatist forces means stocking flames in the Taiwan Straits. Cartoon:Carlos Latuff

Condoning separatist forces means stocking flames in the Taiwan Straits. Cartoon:Carlos Latuff

The Chinese mainland on Monday reiterated its firm opposition to "Taiwan independence" and emphasized its unwavering stance against any form of separatist activities, following Lai Ching-te's speech upon assuming the role of Taiwan region's new leader on Monday. 

Analysts said that the pursuit of "Taiwan independence" is a futile endeavor that will lead to detrimental and calamitous consequences for Taiwan island. The US and certain external forces' attempts to manipulate the "Taiwan card" to contain China will only serve to destabilize the region further.

Lai and deputy regional leader Hsiao Bi-khim officially assumed office on Monday. During his "inauguration speech", Lai blatantly referred to the island as a "nation," talked about the island's political system and "freedom," and hyped so-called political and military "intimidation" from the mainland.

Lai's speech stubbornly followed the "Taiwan independence" stance, wantonly advocated separatism, incited cross-Straits confrontation and sought independence by relying on foreign support and by force, Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a statement on Monday.

The mainstream public aspiration on the island favors peace over war, development over regression, communication over separation, and cooperation over confrontation. However, Lai disregards this sentiment and goes against the tide, releasing dangerous signals of separatist provocation. This disrupts peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and fully exposes his nature of being "a worker for Taiwan independence," Chen said.  

"We will never tolerate or condone any form of separatist activities that seek 'Taiwan independence'," Chen said, stressing that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China and that "Taiwan independence" and peace across the Straits are incompatible as fire and water.

"Our determination to resolve the Taiwan question and realize national reunification is as solid as a rock, our ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity is unshakable, and our actions to fight against 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities and external interference are resolute and powerful," said Chen.  

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also stressed at a press conference on Monday that "'Taiwan independence' is a dead end. Regardless of what pretext or banner it uses, any attempt to promote 'Taiwan independence' secessionism is doomed to fail." 

Lai's speech, which omitted mention of the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, once again revealed his diehard stance of relying on the US and external forces to seek "Taiwan independence." Despite Lai's rhetoric of "pursuing peace," which aimed to deceive both the people of Taiwan island and the international community, his secessionism stance and actions would ultimately lead the island to instability, analysts said. 

Lai's speech has raised concerns within Taiwan island. The TAIEX, the Taiwan stock exchange's benchmark index, dropped during Lai's "inauguration speech", which some analysts said mirrored Taiwan society's low confidence in the new regional leader.

Hsiao Hsu-tsen, director of the Ma Ying-jeou Culture and Education Foundation, said in a statement on Monday that Lai's speech, which referred to the island as "a nation" and viewed the mainland as a "foreign country" is a new "two-state" rhetoric. This is "a blatant provocation" and cross-Straits relations will fall into an "extreme dangerous situation," according to media reports. 

Despite Lai's deliberate use of straightforward language to connect with his audience, his speech was riddled with alarming historical inaccuracies and misrepresented constitutional and legal concepts. The absence of any sentiment toward the Chinese nation indicated that the speech essentially endorsed the separatist perspective of the so-called "one China, one Taiwan" rhetoric, revealing Lai's "Taiwan independence" stance without much disguise, Wang Wu-lang, secretary-general of the Cross-Straits Peace Forum, told the Global Times on Monday. 

On the issue of cross-Straits exchanges, Lai deliberately used the term "under the principles of parity," implying certain limitations on such exchanges and an approach that leaned more toward caution than openness, said Wang Wu-lang, noting that Lai will likely adopt more preventive regulatory measures from the perspectives of "security" and "defense" in cross-Straits exchanges.

Moreover, the DPP is poised to increasingly rely on the involvement of the US, Japan and some Western powers. By adopting the strategy of "internationalizing the Taiwan question," they will continue the path of rejecting reunification and resisting the mainland and seeking independence through reliance on the US, said Wang Wu-lang. 

The future of economic and trade relations across the Straits won't look good, given Lai's strong confrontational mentality toward the mainland, Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University in Fujian, told the Global Times on Monday.

"The DPP's attempts to seek economic 'decoupling' between the mainland and Taiwan and its unreasonable smearing of the mainland will likely remain unchanged. As a result, economic and trade ties across the Straits may continue to be difficult, with the possibility of deterioration amid growing risks," Wang Jianmin said.

International consensus on one-China principle

Lai is likely to continue Tsai Ing-wen's approach of collaborating with the US' "Indo-Pacific Strategy" to contain the mainland and maintain a status of cross-Straits confrontation, Wu Jung-yuan, chairman of the Labor Party and also a convener of the Cross-Straits Peace Forum, told the Global Times.

With Lai taking office, the US may deepen its "substantial relations" with Taiwan island. However, these relationships are usually symbolic and short-lived, Wu said.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Lai and said he looked forward to working with him, Reuters reported. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also said on Monday that the one-China principle is a widely recognized consensus in the international community and a fundamental norm in international relations. The vast majority of countries and international organizations stand firmly with the Chinese government and people in supporting China's just cause against separatism and for reunification.

"Some politicians from a few countries engage in political manipulation and personal shows on the Taiwan question, severely interfering in China's internal affairs and violating the one-China principle. China strongly condemns such actions and will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Wang said, stressing that external forces meddling in China's internal affairs and supporting "Taiwan independence" have no way out, and any attempt to contain China by using Taiwan is doomed to fail.

We firmly oppose any official interaction between the US and Taiwan island in any form and strongly condemn US interference in Taiwan affairs in any form or under any excuses, Chen said in a second statement on Monday.

Also on Monday, China added three US companies including Boeing Defense, Space & Security, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems to the unreliable entities list after they sold arms to the island of Taiwan.

These companies will be barred from engaging in China-related import or export activities, and are forbidden from making new investments in China. Senior executives of the companies are prohibited from entering China, while their work permits will be revoked, along with their visitor and residential status, and any related applications they submit will not be approved, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. 

The actions of the Ministry of Commerce on Monday underscore China's resolute stance in countering any efforts aimed at promoting "Taiwan independence." Moreover, any American entities or groups aligning with separatist acts in Taiwan island to undermine China's fundamental interests will invariably provoke retaliatory actions from China, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Now in office, Lai will possibly closely align himself with the US, willingly assuming the role of a US puppet and serving American interests. His cross-Straits policies dictated by American preferences will escalate tensions across the Taiwan Straits and harm the interests of people across the Straits, Li said. 

Li noted that by embracing his role as a US puppet, Lai forfeits the ability to lead the island of Taiwan to peace, prosperity, and stability. Instead, the island risks descending into a situation of crisis, confusion and instability. 

Wu also noted that as the US persists in tightening its grip on Taiwan for its own agenda, often at the expense of the Taiwan people, individuals on the island are gradually awakening to the true nature of US hegemony. 

People in the island are coming to understand that "unity brings prosperity, while seeking 'Taiwan independence' leads to a dead-end, and reliance on external powers is unreliable," said Wu.