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US makes attempted moves to further provoke China over Taiwan issue

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online) 16:52, April 08, 2022

According to Western media reports, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to visit Taiwan on Sunday following a visit to Japan. Although Nancy Pelosi tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and had to postpone her Asia tour, China remains seriously concerned and has expressed its strong opposition to her plans.

It would be the first such visit by a serving US house speaker since Newt Gingrich traveled to Taiwan in 1997. Previously, the former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen visited Taipei in February. That visit was followed a day later by the arrival of former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on a private trip to the island. In 2020, two senior officials from the administration of former US President Donald Trump – namely, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Undersecretary of State Keith Krach – led delegations to Taiwan. Azar was the highest-ranking sitting US government official to visit Taipei since Washington switched its official China ties to Beijing in 1979.

The “one-China principle” is now a universally recognized norm in international relations and the consensus of the international community. It is also the political foundation of China-US relations.

In the three joint communiques that have come to define China-US ties, the most fundamental documents that have guided the relationship of the two major countries over the years, Washington has acknowledged that "there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China," and reiterated that "it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China's internal affairs."

If Pelosi visits Taiwan, this would be an open violation of the “one-China principle,” which the US has promised to continue following.

China is taking the matter very seriously and the spokesperson for its Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a stern warning in response, saying “If she does visit, China will take strong measures and the consequences will be borne by the US.”

Last year, the Lithuanian government, in blatant disregard to China’s strong objections and repeated attempts at dissuasion, approved the establishment of the so-called “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania” administered by the Taiwan authorities. As a consequence, China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made China's solemn position clear as indicated in media reports detailing House Speaker Pelosi’s intentions to visit Taiwan. He issued remarks in a phone conversation with Emmanuel Bonne, who serves as diplomatic counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron. Noting that the current international situation is increasingly turbulent, Wang said that on the Ukraine issue the US urges respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country on the one hand, but then on the Taiwan question it openly tramples along the red line of infringing upon the “one-China principle.” This is a blatant double standard, he stressed. If Pelosi, a political leader of the US, actually goes through with her visit to Taiwan, it would be a malicious provocation against China's sovereignty and a gross interference in China's internal affairs, and it would moreover send an extremely dangerous political signal to the outside world, Wang said. If the US insists on going its own way, China will surely make a firm response and the American side will bear all the consequences, he added.

It is to be emphasized that the 1.4 billion people of China are very sensitive to the Taiwan issue. Taiwan-related issues are a matter of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, which concern the country's core interests.

If something goes wrong in respect to Taiwan, the Chinese reaction must be very sharp and decisive. The people of Taiwan are being urged to think wisely and smartly. Involving a third party like the US may further complicate the issue to an extent where the Chinese mainland may need to take serious actions.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a non-resident fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected].

The opinions expressed in this article reflect those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of People's Daily Online. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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