Lai Ching-te assumes office with ignorance, arrogance and recklessness
Published: May 22, 2024 05:18 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

On Thursday, the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) began the joint drills "Joint Sword-2024A" around the island of Taiwan. According to a spokesperson for the theater command, this military exercise is a strong punishment for the secessionist acts of "Taiwan independence" forces and a stern warning against interference and provocation by external forces.

This happened three days after Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as the leader of the Taiwan region. I read his "inaugural speech" and paid attention to the comments from the local media outlets in Taiwan and around the world. My personal conclusion is that Lai has come to power with a bold attitude to further promote "Taiwan independence," with arrogant intentions to rely on force and the support of the US. He wants to play more aggressively and recklessly than Tsai Ing-wen, make the "two states" theory more explicit, and use various tactics to achieve "de-Sinicization" in the Taiwan region. He wants to deceive Taiwan residents, making them believe that this approach will be safe, and that the Chinese mainland will have no way to deal with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities, allowing the Taiwan region to sprint toward "independence" while enjoying "freedom and prosperity." He wants Taiwan residents to believe that the more aggressive the steps toward "independence," the more attention the "free world" will give to the Taiwan region.

As a mainland media person who has long been concerned about the situation in the Taiwan Straits, I must issue a stern warning: Lai is too reckless and too ignorant for this situation. He and the DPP authorities need to regain a basic sense of sobriety, which is that no matter how good they are at performing, they are actually in the palm of the mainland's power, within the will of a unified country of 1.4 billion people. The secessionist forces will never be able to escape the forces of justice and will. They must remember: "Taiwan independence" is a dead end, and recklessness will lead to a quicker and more confused demise.

I want to warn the people in Taiwan not to be fooled by the likes of Lai. They claim that "the future of the Republic of China Taiwan will be decided by its 23 million people," which is an extremely hypocritical slogan, full of emotional manipulation. The future of the Taiwan region must be determined by the 1.4 billion Chinese people, including compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. This is the truth, political logic and an undeniable constitutional principle. The Taiwan region is not a country and will never become one. 

What's even more malicious is Lai's lie that "Taiwan independence" is safe, as if no matter how they pursue "independence," it will not harm the fundamental interests of the Taiwan residents. It's as if the few American weapons and the empty promises from the US can really ensure the safety of "Taiwan independence," intimidate the mainland, and make the mainland back down and refrain from using force when the Anti-Secession Law is violated.

I want to tell the Taiwan compatriots that every time the Lai authorities escalate provocations, it will push the Taiwan Straits toward more serious military and political tensions. The actions of the Lai authorities will definitely invite lessons and countermeasures from the mainland. The large-scale military drills rapidly launched by the Chinese mainland around the island are an unprecedented warning: If the Taiwan authorities insist on advancing "Taiwan independence," they will face escalating military punishment from the mainland. If Lai tries to escalate tensions in the coming years, the mainland will respond and use all available tools to make the Taiwan authorities pay a heavy price.

The Lai authorities do not have the resources to gamble on the issue of war and peace, and the US cannot be used as a bargaining chip for "Taiwan independence." The people in Taiwan need to have a clear understanding of this. Those within the island who can prevent the Taiwan authorities from acting recklessly should take action. If these forces cannot stop them, then the PLA will take action.

The Taiwan question is not just about war and peace, but also about development. If the Lai authorities throw the Taiwan Straits into chaos, it will disrupt the certainty needed for investment and hinder the region's prosperity. The development prospects promised and boasted about by Lai will be ruined by him and the DPP authorities. Lai's aggressive and arrogant behavior from the moment he took office fundamentally threatens the well-being of the Taiwan residents. What he actually wants to do is use the future of a generation of Taiwan residents to pay for his personal political ambitions.

I believe that the mainland will never tolerate Lai's audacity. I especially hope that the people in Taiwan will open their eyes and not be manipulated by the Lai authorities on their dangerous path. For the sake of peace, the people in Taiwan need to cooperate with the mainland to set rules for Lai.

The author is a Chinese media professional. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn