2022 RT Banner.gif

China Daily

HongKong> Opinion> Content
Published: 14:23, May 27, 2022 | Updated: 14:23, May 27, 2022
US bid to sow seeds of division in Asia-Pacific doomed to failure
By Chen Weihua
Published:14:23, May 27, 2022 Updated:14:23, May 27, 2022 By Chen Weihua

US President Joe Biden made sensational headlines on Monday after saying that Washington will defend Taiwan militarily in a potential cross-Straits conflict, and thus signaling a drastic shift in the United States' decades-old one-China policy.

However, officials both at the White House and Pentagon walked back his remark, stressing that the US policy on Taiwan has not changed. Biden, too, walked backed his statement on Tuesday.

While many have been alarmed by Biden's multiple gaffes on the sensitive issue, some have interpreted them as a deliberate tactical move.

Whatever the explanation, the US should realize that the reason for the escalating tensions across the Taiwan Straits is the refusal of Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen to recognize the 1992 Consensus that there is one China and Washington's move to change decades of US policy including that on official contacts, arms sales and laws relating to Taiwan made by the US Congress.

Such US moves have been emboldening the separatist movement in Taiwan, making it clear that the Chinese mainland is not trying to change the status quo.

Biden must remember that China is the largest trade partner of almost all the countries in the region, including Japan and the Republic of Korea which he visited during his trip

The last thing the Chinese people want is a conflict across the Straits. But no one should underestimate China's resolve to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Those who brag about "defending Taiwan militarily" simply don't know what they are up against.

Just a few days ago, Ma Ying-jeou, Tsai's predecessor, advised her that the key to defuse the tensions is to restore mutual trust across the Straits. Under Ma's eight-year rule, the mainland and Taiwan made much progress in restoring peace and achieving economic prosperity across the Straits. The mainland is Taiwan's top trade partner-the cross-Straits trade volume is more than Taiwan's combined trade with Japan, the European Union and the US.

On Monday, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger cautioned the Biden administration on the issue in his speech, via video link, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying that the US "should not by subterfuge or by a gradual process develop something of a 'two-China' solution".

Kissinger's remark can be considered a warning to the US administration that it should not use the island as a geopolitical tool in its reckless efforts to contain China's rise. The US rhetoric of "Chinese aggression" is fiction simply because the mainland has not engaged in any war since 1979 while the US has triggered and engaged in incessant wars in the past four decades.

In unveiling the US' Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity on Monday, and in his meeting with Quad leaders on Tuesday, Biden made no secret that his first visit to Asia as US president is to counter China and force countries in the region to choose sides, something that Asian countries have long rejected.

Biden must remember that China is the largest trade partner of almost all the countries in the region, including Japan and the Republic of Korea which he visited during his trip. Asian countries are frustrated with the US for its reluctance to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Almost all feel that the IPEF offers no concrete benefits to them, such as further opening up the US market.

In contrast, China is a member of the RCEP and has formally applied to join the CPTPP.

Making his stance clear in an interview with Nikkei Asia, which was published on Monday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his country wants to have good relations with both China and the US, and strongly rejected the idea of an Asian version of NATO, with one bloc confronting another.

Asian economic integration has been a success story, and Biden will fail to infect the region with his zero-sum and new Cold War mentality.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.


Share this story

Please click in the upper right corner to open it in your browser !