Fri, Apr 27, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan will push back on pressure from China

By James Wang 王景弘

When it comes to diagnosing the eccentricities of China, two figures stand out. One is Michel Oksenberg, a political scientist and China watcher at the US National Security Council during former US president Jimmy Carter’s administration, who bluntly described China as a rogue, specializing in getting something for nothing and being good at making verbal threats.

The other is Chinese centenarian Li Rui (李銳), who served as Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) personal secretary and biographer.

“We’ve ended up with [Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平)] and his evil from a failure to address Mao’s defects,” Li said.

Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) once condemned Chinese communists as being “fierce on the surface, but weak at heart” and for waving their swords as soon as someone else shows theirs.

Mao called the US a “paper tiger,” but his own “backyard furnace” policy during the Great Leap Forward failed both the nation and its people.

Now, Xi is dreaming too much and is unsheathing his sword left, right and center, stirring up trouble in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and upsetting the US, Japan, Taiwan and the Southeast Asian nations.

The US’ reaction has been the most drastic. During former president Barack Obama’s terms, when Chinese vessels intercepted US naval ships in the South China Sea, the US vessels made an emergency stop to avoid collision. Since US President Donald Trump took office, the US Navy is no longer intimidated by such moves and continue to sail straight ahead.

When Xi recently oversaw military drills in the South China Sea to much fanfare, China’s only, and antiquated, aircraft carrier joined the exercise.

The US, not even raising an eyebrow, sent an aircraft carrier battle group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt directly into the exercise zone, daring China to block the way.

When China’s antiquated aircraft carrier returned to its home base via some detours, the US, Japan and Taiwan had full control of its route.

If that antiquated piece of metal ever attempted to take action, one wonders if it would be safe.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has highlighted its sovereignty and self-defense abilities by conducting its own naval drill.

Today, small countries are also capable of developing modern high-tech weapons without intending to invade other countries, instead developing military equipment allowing them to give their enemies a bloody nose and show them that they are capable of standing firmly against foreign threats and extortion.

Xi is playing the “one China” card, demanding that the international community recognize Taiwan as part of China, while at the same time playing the “anti-Taiwanese independence” card by intimidating those who support Taiwanese independence and do not consider Taiwan to be part of China, referring to them as “separatists.”

Such threats are typical of how China often tries to get something for nothing, and it is forcing Taiwan to play the sovereignty card.

The pursuit of better diplomatic relations and stronger national defense capabilities is intended to prove that Taiwan, or the nation called the “Republic of China on Taiwan,” is an independent nation.

The more pressure China exerts, the louder Taiwan will declare its sovereignty. If China waves its sword around, Taiwan will play its card and show that it is not intimidated by rogues.

James Wang is a senior media commentator.

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