15.11.2021 Author: Vladimir Terehov

Chronicles of the Taiwan Issue

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The various developments accompanying the Taiwan issue, the most dangerous one on today’s political map of the world, require constant attention and as accurate a description as possible. That is, without distortion, and with the minimum author’s comments.

Their simple chronological presentation speaks for itself. It depicts the relations between the two leading world powers, the US and China, directly involved in the Taiwan issue. However, they believe in Beijing that Washington and all other world actors have nothing to do with the problem. From the standpoint of global world politics, but not international law, the Taiwan issue boils down to whether or not Washington and some of its allies are parties to it.

The answer to this question, which comes from Washington D.C., includes both no and yes. It comes from the US strategy of ambiguity concerning the Taiwan issue. It says “No” in the sense that in establishing diplomatic relations with China in 1979, Washington was forced to deny Taiwan full statehood and accept the One China Principle. On the other hand, its “Yes” has to do with the US categorically demanding an exceptionally peaceful way for Beijing to implement that very One China Principle, which means almost zero probability of its practical implementation.

Moreover, the recent years have seen an increasing tendency to win back at least part of those concessions to Beijing on the Taiwan issue that the US was forced to make during the Cold War with its main geopolitical rival, the USSR. All recent US activities on this problem fit into this general (revisionist) trend, with three main directions.

The first is related to attempts to bring Taiwan into the international political arena by, among other things, involving it in the work of structures and organizations associated in one way or another with the UN. The second boils down to raising bilateral relations and giving them a customary interstate format. The third is the recent surge in assistance to Taiwan in the context of its own activities to improve the island’s defense capabilities.

As for the third direction, in particular, referring to Reuters agency, Taiwanese mass media reported about preparation by a group of US Senators of a bill which would allocate $2 billion annually to Taiwan for the next ten years so that it could purchase various kinds of armament from the United States. Similar assistance has been provided before, and one of its most recent tangible results was the introduction of the first squadron of modernized F-16V fighters into the island’s Air Force . The entire fleet of 142 Taiwanese F-16 fighters of earlier modifications will undergo a similar upgrade.

Further explanations of the sensational Joe Biden’s statement (previously discussed byNEO) about US readiness to “defend Taiwan” were voiced on October 31 by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. After somewhat correcting his chief in the sense that US policy toward Taiwan remains “unchanged” (i.e., containing no commitment to the above-mentioned “defense”), he also pointed to the “unchanged” policy of assisting Taiwan in improving its defense capabilities.

European politicians have lately been especially conspicuous in “roadshows” in the Taiwanese area with the participation of various representatives of Western countries. They are often of a defiantly scandalous nature, and their appearance in a given country is a sure sign of severe problems for its territory.

The Taiwanese should have been alerted that the delegation of the European Parliament, which visited the island in early November for the first time in its history, was headed by Raphaël Glucksmann, who is now in charge of a political office set up only in September 2020 under the uncomfortable name of Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the EU.

The Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s staff, who did not shy away from meeting such a person, should have smoked some “exorcising” incense after his departure to the room where the meeting took place. His arrival in Taiwan is not a good sign. Participants in the Ukrainian Maidan can confirm this.

The question arises, who authorized him to speak on behalf of “Europe”, which “stands with you in defense of freedom” at the meeting with Ms Tsai? Europe without the quotes, i.e., real Europe, not the political pests trying to represent it, is holding complex negotiations with China on various aspects of bilateral relations and increasing the production of Airbuses at the assembly plant in Tianjin. Chinese investment in the European economy is welcome in general accompanied with substantive reservations.

The current Taiwanese leadership also seeks to mark its ties with Europe. In late October, a landmark visit to the continent by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu could be viewed as part of this process. The reason for his arrival on the continent was an invitation from the Czech and Slovak authorities. As always, neophytes position themselves as holier-than-thou. Together with Lithuania, these most recent additions to the European Union are increasingly concerned about “threats to freedom” on the other side of the globe. They’d better spin wind turbines instead, implementing “green energy” to spite “Putin, who forbade the winds to blow over Europe.”

As far as trans-European structures are concerned, it appears that  Joseph Wu only managed to communicate with some MEPs (no one knows where). And that’s perfectly understandable, since in this case we speak about contacts with the Taiwanese authorities that are being established by trashy European limitrophe states and political losers who are trying to speak for Europe. The latter ended up in the European Parliament only because some Europeans were willing to vote for them. But establishing direct relations with the current Taiwanese authorities by any EU structures would mean a complete breakdown in relations with China on their part. This is the last thing Europe would want today in the context of increasingly complicated relations with the US.

Once again, the main problem in relations “between the opposite coasts of the Taiwan Strait” boils down to the fact that Taiwan is now governed by the separatist Democratic Progressive Party. The latter is increasingly trying to use some “historical and cultural” schemes for understandable political purposes, which is supposed to confirm Taiwanese autonomy of vis-à-vis Mainland Chinese.

In this respect, the report was notable on another postponement of the restoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s statue in Tainan City which was toppled in 2014 by an “unruly (?) crowd of indignant (heaven knows, why) citizens.” Monuments to the Dictator Chiang Kai-shek are being desecrated, and that’s ok, but why the statue of the father of modern China?

Well, it seems that it is connected to the DPP’s increasing attempts to position Taiwan in a politically autonomous format not only to People’s Republic of China but also to historical China, in general. There can hardly be any doubt that the island’s current leadership is behind the certain segment of society’s opinion dissatisfied with the prospect of restoring the monument to the founder not only of the Republic of China but also of the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang remains the DPP’s primary opponent on Taiwan’s political field and is much more (than the DPP) Beijing’s preferred representative of the island in various bilateral contacts.

It should be noted that it was in 2014 that the “war with monuments” by the founders of modern Ukraine began. The country is increasingly being positioned as Eastern Europe’s “political Taiwan.” It is unlikely that the timing of both similar events is coincidental. Considering that Taipei and Kyiv are guided by the same very influential country.

Nevertheless, there remains reason to believe that sooner or later, the Mainland Chinese and the Taiwanese (“non”) Chinese will resolve the issues that divide them to more or less mutual satisfaction. The main thing is that all kinds of overseas Glucksmen should not stick their curious noses into their affairs.

We mean those people why try to “sell” fake categories of freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 


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