Published: 10:23, June 7, 2022 | Updated: 10:25, June 7, 2022
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Playing Taiwan card a treacherous gambit
By China Daily

The United States has become increasingly rash and mischievous in playing the Taiwan card in its effort to contain China. In its latest move, the US began talks with the island last week with the claimed purpose of deepening their trade relations.

The launch of the "initiative on 21st-century trade" between the island and the US came immediately after US President Joe Biden announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, a political framework under the guise of economic cooperation aimed at countering the influence of China in the region.

Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party administration has hailed the initiative as another sign of support from Washington-with the island's "lead trade negotiator" John Deng calling it "a historic breakthrough". There is no doubt that the US-Taiwan trade initiative bears sovereign connotations and an official nature, which run counter to the one-China principle. Deng hailed it as a precursor to signing a free trade agreement.

The move has thus drawn firm opposition from the Chinese government as it violates the one-China principle-the political foundation of Sino-US relations-and will certainly embolden the separatists on the island and disrupt peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, as a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The Taiwan question concerns China's core national interests and sovereignty and territorial integrity, and it is the most critical and sensitive issue in Sino-US relations. Yet despite this and the US' official stance that it does not support "Taiwan independence", the US has taken one step after another to push the envelope on that stance. Just one day before the launch of the trade initiative, US Senator Tammy Duckworth met with Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen and expressed support for the island during her second visit in a year to the island.

Washington has accused Beijing of trying to change the status quo across the Straits. This is like a thief crying "catch thief", because it is the stepped-up support the US has provided to separatists on the island-either through arms sales or through more frequent official visits-that is undermining the status quo of cross-Straits relations.

Through its mischievous acts and words, the US may easily prepare the ground for a loss of self-control among those seeking to sever the island from the motherland, such that they are emboldened to do and say what they ought not.

The US should not gainsay the risks of its high-stakes gambling.