The US Department of Defense recently released a report entitled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2010. The report stated that China is continuing its military expansion in the Taiwan Strait and has already started to consider sudden conflicts with nations other than Taiwan.
The report said the military balance in the Taiwan Strait continues to develop in favor of China and that the goals of China’s military expansion are extending beyond Taiwan. China is now beginning to focus on the US and the People’s Liberation Army is already capable of attacks deep into the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. For the first time, the report also stated that China is developing new military capabilities to allow it to attack US military ships intervening in the Taiwan Strait.
This depiction of an aggressive Chinese military expansion refutes the arguments of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who keeps saying that the situation in the Strait has entered an unprecedented state of peace.
While meeting with representatives from Kinmen and Matsu recently, a self-satisfied Ma said that during his two years in office, he has worked hard to improve cross-strait relations, adding that Taiwan and China now have signed 14 agreements and that this has brought an atmosphere of peace and prosperity to cross-strait relations. He also said this atmosphere has extended to international relations and improved Taiwan’s relations with other nations.
Ignoring the threat of war because of a thin veil of peace and ignoring the missiles China has pointed at Taiwan does not mean that Ma is stupid; it shows that he has ulterior motives.
Ma’s ideological pursuit of eventual unification permeates all his major policies. Over the past two years, amid China’s military threats and belittling of Taiwan, Ma has agreed to participate in international events on China’s approval and to use the name “Chinese Taipei.” The next step is for the “two Chinese parties,” the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), to make Taiwan — which is not part of China’s territory — a part of China. This is why Ma doesn’t care that China’s military threat toward Taiwan continues to increase and that Taiwan is faced with an unprecedented sovereignty crisis.
Instead, he is immersing himself in the “cross-strait atmosphere of peace and prosperity.”
The US is very clear on this fact. The aforementioned report stresses the point that the US is relying on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), when it supplies Taiwan with weapons for self-defense purposes, to maintain cross-strait peace and stability. The report also states that the US military would rely on global military deployment to assist Taiwan in warding off any Chinese military actions against Taiwan.
Compared with the way the two Chinese parties are conspiring to Taiwan’s annexation, Washington’s stance is quite clearly the opposite. As a signatory to the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the US knows full well that Taiwan does not belong to the Republic of China and that it also does not belong to the People’s Republic of China. Regardless of any common understanding between the people of Taiwan and China, China is China and Taiwan is Taiwan. That is why the US has always assisted Taiwan with its self-defense. We can therefore imagine that on the one hand, the US will want to assist Taiwan to protect itself from the Chinese threat, while also assisting Taiwan to protect itself from the Ma administration’s tendencies to sell out Taiwan.
The US’ advocacy is in line with historical fact and international law, and it also protects the sovereignty of Taiwan and its people. Now, with the two Chinese parties working in collusion, Taiwanese must not only see through the thin veil of economic benefits that hide China’s ambitions to annex Taiwan; they must also see through the phony peace the Ma administration uses to deceive Taiwanese into surrendering to China. Only if they insist on Taiwan’s sovereignty and do not fall for the tricks of the two Chinese parties will the international community have a reason to champion Taiwan and help Taiwan defend itself. If, on the other hand, Taiwanese are tricked by the KMT and CCP’s sweet talk to walk down the irreversible path toward Chinese annexation, there will be no help for Taiwan even from countries that might be willing to assist.
It is worth noting that in addition to regulations about providing Taiwan with defensive weapons, the TRA also stipulates that the US must protect the safety of Taiwanese and the abilities of its socioeconomic system from anyone who may resort to military force or other forceful means. In other words, the US also opposes the way the two Chinese parties are trying to use underhanded means to impose compulsory changes to Taiwan’s socioeconomic system to meet their goal of unification by economic means.
If we also look at this from a strategic perspective and from the geopolitics of the region spanning from Northeast Asia to the South China Sea, we see that the entire balance of power would change greatly if Taiwan was annexed by China. The Western Pacific interests of the US and the shared interests of affected democratic nations would all be harmed. It is therefore safe to say that Ma’s China-leaning policies will be brought under control eventually.
The current cross-strait situation is not the atmosphere of peace and prosperity that Ma is talking about. Rather, the situation is what the US warned against in its report: an atmosphere of major potential conflict. Additionally, Beijing’s great advances in its capability to invade Taiwan are only one aspect of China’s moves to gain regional dominance and more sway in the global economy. As a result, the US recently has started to make military preparations in the East Asian region to handle a situation where China’s ambitions could break out in open action.
If Ma is led by nationalistic considerations in such a strategic conflict and insists on latching Taiwan onto China, he will only be digging a grave for the KMT’s alien regime. It is essential that the public warns Ma of its disapproval of his China-leaning policies and uses its vote to uphold democracy, as well as to avoid falling into the trap set up by the two Chinese parties.
TRANSLATED BY DREW CAMERON
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