At a time when tensions across the Taiwan Strait are running high due to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army conducting military exercises around Taiwan, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council published a white paper titled The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era.
The last time the Chinese government published a white paper on the Taiwan issue was 22 years ago, and this is the first such paper to be published since Xi Jinping (習近平) became president of China.
Beijing’s decision to publish its third-ever white paper on the Taiwan issue at this time reveals that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is feeling the pressure of the international community’s support for Taiwan and its efforts to contain China, especially under the influence of the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy.
A wide range of international organizations — including NATO, the Five Eyes alliance, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, AUKUS and, most recently, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity — all view communist China their main adversary, or at least as one of their main adversaries, and these groupings have launched military, intelligence, economic and diplomatic efforts to contain Beijing.
As pressure from the international community grows, it has become more difficult for China to attack Taiwan. It was with this in mind that the Chinese government published its third-ever white paper on the Taiwan issue, showing that Chinese leaders have run into a major stumbling block on their intended path toward unification with Taiwan. They now face huge risks that they had not expected.
Therefore, they decided to launch another international opinion offensive so as to make their voice heard on the Taiwan issue.
The Chinese government repeatedly states in its white paper that China wants “peaceful reunification,” and it promises that “reunification” will bring all kinds of benefits to Taiwan.
It says that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are like brothers and can learn to get along much better.
However, the white paper also states that China “will not renounce the use of force.”
China’s threat of possibly launching an armed invasion makes it sound more like a bully than a brother.
It is foreseeable that China is likely to go on using a carrot-and-stick approach to push Taiwan toward unification.
It must be said that Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to all of its more than 23 million people, and only Taiwanese can decide the nation’s future. Taiwan will never accept a cross-strait endgame demanded by the CCP dictatorship.
If the CCP tries to force Taiwanese to accept its heavy-handed actions, it would only cause greater revulsion among Taiwanese. It would also be rejected by the international community.
The Chinese government’s self-inflating white paper shows it to be an enemy to the rest of the world.
Nick Hu is a graduate student.
Translated by Julian Clegg
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