The Liberty Times Editorial: PRC opts for psychological warfare - Taipei Times
Sat, Jun 02, 2018 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: PRC opts for psychological warfare

During the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) last month in Geneva, Switzerland, the governments of the US, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Germany, as well as 17 of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and other friendly nations, spoke out against China’s obstruction of Taiwan’s attendance at the meeting.

The head of the US Department of Health and Human Services and high-level officials from the US Department of State joined Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) for bilateral talks. However, one diplomatic ally, Burkina Faso, subsequently announced that it was switching allegiance to China.

During the course of the WHA meeting, Beijing was plotting to poach yet another ally of Taiwan. This, combined with its efforts to force Taiwan to recognize its so-called “one China” principle and its refusal to allow Taiwan to even participate in the meeting as an observer, shows that a full-scale diplomatic war between Taiwan and China is now in full swing.

Some Taiwanese observers have expressed surprise and blamed President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for refusing to endorse the so-called “1992 consensus.” In reality it forms part of China’s twin-pronged attack on Taiwan, and Beijing would love to have the government, as well as the opposition, on board with this.

From the budget allocations in this year’s US National Defense Authorization Act to the US Taiwan Travel Act, the US has launched initiatives to strengthen its political and military relationship with Taiwan. However, the Tsai administration has consistently adopted a passive attitude and sought to maintain the so-called “status quo” with China.

It is the constant threatening behavior coming from China that has created the present situation, in which Beijing is now under siege from Washington: It brought this on itself.

As China is unable to retaliate against the US and the US-China trade war continues to gain steam, Beijing is taking out its anger on Taiwan, as if it were a punching bag. However, China is not just venting its spleen; Beijing clearly has its sights set on supplanting the US as the world’s pre-eminent superpower.

Beijing is pursuing a policy of attack as the best defense through multifaceted means and has warned that closer US-Taiwan ties could well lead to a dangerous situation.

Alex Wong (黃之瀚) is deputy assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. His official visit to Taiwan, which included meeting with and sharing a platform with Tsai, is a clear elevation of high-level interaction between the two nations and it is this type of interaction that Beijing seeks to deter.

To date, Taipei has borne the brunt of the cross-strait tension and political impasse with Beijing. So-called “military unification” and the endless stream of threats against Taiwan is backed up by hostile “military exercises.”

Chinese warships and bombers now encircle Taiwan, and encroach upon its airspace and territorial waters with increasing frequency. Although this appears to be the “new normal,” Taiwan cannot afford to let down its guard.

The government must thoroughly prepare for the threat of a possible peripheral conflict with China’s People’s Liberation Army, including the possibility of an accidental discharge of fire or a reckless act by China’s military.

However, Beijing’s ramping up of tensions in the Taiwan Strait has not gone unnoticed by US President Donald Trump.

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