At a time when Taiwan remains a crucial issue between China and the U.S., an “opinion” piece published in China’s nationalization propaganda machine, The Global Times, claims that: “It is just a matter of time before China surpasses the US in terms of comprehensive national strength.”
“No matter what card the US plays, it cannot change the general trend of China,” The Global Times wrote.
The piece is being published a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and China. In addition to issuing blame for the coronavirus pandemic, there are a number of issues being grappled with by the two national superpowers: intellectual property issues, China’s seeming reluctance to hold up its end of the Phase 1 trade deal, and the latter country’s insistence of continuing to devalue the Yuan.
But the most current issue at bar for the two nations remains control over Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen delivered her inaugural speech on May 20, which seems to have irked – and is likely what prompted – this “response” from the CCP propaganda machine.
The “interview” includes Douglas Paal, Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace of the US, and Jin Canrong, the associate dean of Renmin University of China’s School of International Studies in Beijing. Paal is a U.S. resident and directs the endowment’s Asia Program. Both were eager to push for support of China, apathy from Taiwan and skepticism toward U.S. policy.
For example, when asked about the Trump administration’s obvious support of Taiwan right off the bat, Paal had no problem criticizing and undermining his own country’s handling of the situation:
Even before the Trump administration came to power, there has been a dual faceted policy toward the island of Taiwan from him. Many in his government want to elevate US relations with Taiwan in every way possible. Some want to use Taiwan as a cudgel against the Chinese mainland and its influence. Strangely, Trump himself seems not to share this view. He seems to view Taiwan as a “small country,” small market, and maybe even tradable in negotiating business deals.
This duality seems to have kept lower level officials from crossing really sensitive redlines in the long established ambiguities prevailing in US-Taiwan-Chinese mainland relations. I don’t think all current American officials appreciate how sensitive and explosive this issue is. In fact, I believe some think it will help bring the Chinese government down. So the situation devolving into a major crisis has low probability, but potentially high consequences.
He claimed that Trump’s position on Taiwan policy is “unclear”, other than seeing Taiwan as an asset to help control the mainland. He also contradicted Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, making it seem as though the U.S. is “all bark and no bite” in its posturing that it would defend Taiwan.
“For example, in the middle of a global pandemic, the US has no interest in losing a role within the WHO, but Trump is trying to withdraw from it,” Paal said, continuing to try and undermine the President’s actions.
“The gap between rhetoric and action is wide,” he later said, when asked if he thought the U.S. would act against China’s one-China principle.
Paal also encouraged Taiwan to “keep a low profile” amidst the dispute and said he thinks Tsai “is maintaining the basic official line of status quo” for the time being:
Taiwan, in my view, should stick to advocating its own interests, including international participation and acknowledgement, autonomy at home, lessons in good governance, especially concerning epidemics, and sound economics. None of those is compatible with becoming a spear-head for America’s brooding conflict with China.
If US officials want to send videos to Taiwan ceremonies, why would Taiwan want to reject them? If the US wants to send the 7th fleet into Taiwan’s waters, in the absence of a Chinese mainland attack, Taiwan should ask why and to what purpose?