Lai’s attempt to seek ‘independence’ will surely face strong counterattack: Global Times editorial
Published: May 23, 2024 08:15 PM
Illustration: Liu Xidan/GT

Illustration: Liu Xidan/GT

Lai Ching-te, the Taiwan region's new leader, has stepped onto the front stage with a radical and adventurous "Taiwan independence" stance in his inauguration speech on May 20. The speech was full of hostility, provocation, lies and deception, releasing dangerous and provocative signals of seeking "Taiwan independence." It has caused deep concern among the public about the future of the island of Taiwan and cross-Straits relations. Lai, who incites anti-China sentiment and attempts to achieve "independence through force," is pushing Taiwan into a perilous situation of potential conflicts, bringing profound disasters to the Taiwan compatriots.

After former regional leader Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 and delivered her inaugural speech, the mainland gave her an evaluation that she had delivered "an unfinished answer sheet." On his first day in office, Lai also faced this answer sheet, with a choice between peace or war, development or decline, communication or separation, cooperation or confrontation. However, he openly advocated for so-called "sovereignty independence," "mutual non-subordination" between the two sides of the Straits, "Taiwan people's self-determination" and other fallacies of separation, displaying an extremely arrogant attitude and advocating for even more radical positions, essentially tearing up the answer sheet. 

Of course, Lai employed some political rhetoric. For example, he packaged his kowtowing to external forces as "engaging with the rest of the world," his selling out Taiwan's interests as "holding firm its key position in the global democratic supply chain," and seeking independence through force as "demonstrating the strength of deterrence." He attempted to deceive the Taiwan people into believing that pursuing "Taiwan independence" not only has a way out but is also a way to build a more "democratic, peaceful, and prosperous" Taiwan. This means turning people into bargaining chips, sacrificing them for the political gamble of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Some in Taiwan who are relatively clear-headed about the cross-Straits situation have already seen this danger. Some Taiwan scholars have bluntly stated that in their decades of studying cross-Straits relations, they have never felt such fear and have already sensed the need for Taiwan to prepare for tough times. Meanwhile, some Taiwan media have pointed out that Lai's speech exposes flawed strategic cognition leading to a misjudgment of the situation, putting Taiwan into a high-risk period, not only failing to appease concerns about cross-Straits tensions but also possibly exacerbating fears of "provoking war." A latest TVBS poll in Taiwan shows that more than half of the people have no confidence in Lai's handling of cross-Straits relations. Lai attempts to manipulate Taiwan's public opinion, but the latter has already given him a clear answer. 

Over the past eight years, the sharp decline in cross-Straits relations has fully proven that the DPP's "Taiwan independence" route, which is confrontational and harmful, has been the root cause of the Taiwan region's military dangers, social division and damage to the economy and people's livelihoods. Now, Lai wants to add fuel to the "Taiwan independence" route, which will only push the region further away from peace and prosperity and closer to war and decline. The "inaugural speech" fully exposes that Lai is not "treating Taiwan people as family," but treating them as worthless; he is not making Taiwan a "pilot for peace," but the poison for global peace.

Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are all Chinese and belong to the Chinese nation. No one wishes more than us to achieve reunification through peaceful means. However, the DPP authorities collude with external forces to seek "independence," and we must counter and punish them. The "Joint Sword-2024A" drills conducted by the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army around the island of Taiwan fully demonstrate that the Taiwan authorities provoke once, we will take countermeasures once; if they provoke more, we will counter their provocations more fiercely, and we will do what we say.

Over the past two years, the number of times that people in Taiwan have taken to the streets to call for "peace and anti-war" is more than the total of the eight years under the leadership of Ma Ying-jeou. The British magazine The Economist has listed the Taiwan region as the "most dangerous place on Earth," which is the result of repeated provocations by the "Taiwan independence" forces. The leader of the defense authority of Taiwan recently admitted that the cross-Straits situation is so tense that it is causing him to lose sleep. The truth is clear: "Taiwan independence" and peace in the Taiwan Straits are incompatible. "Taiwan independence" means war. The DPP authorities are provoking "independence" and must bear the consequences of playing with fire.

In his speech, Lai, while clamoring to "raise defense awareness," is also desperately seeking support and encouragement from external forces. This precisely reflects the fact that he is well aware that he is pushing the Taiwan region into a dangerous situation of war and crisis, which will inevitably bring great disaster to the Taiwan people. No matter how Lai grovels and flatters external forces and how he wholeheartedly acts as the "vanguard" and "pioneer" of external forces to contain China's development, he is nothing more than a "pawn," and a "pawn" will eventually become a "discarded piece."