Letters & Opinion

The China-USA Standoff over Taiwan Part 4: Taiwan Independence Now More Distant than Before Pelosi Visit!

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Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

As if China’s response to the needling recent visit to Taiwan by the third most powerful politi-cian in the United States government was not enough to awaken the world to the futility of en-couraging or supporting the leadership of the island administration’s barely-shrouded and hardly-masked moves to breakaway from and sever all historical and political links with the mainland was not enough, last Sunday four US Congressional representatives did just the same.

And worse, they directly entered into talks about American political support for separatist senti-ments in Taiwan and military support in the name of defense, publicly siding with those advocat-ing breaking-away, while pleading ‘not guilty’ of treating the island like an independent nation defending its sovereignty.

The Sunday visit again exposed Washington’s failed efforts to continue to hide the political hy-pocrisy behind the US policy of Strategic Ambiguity that allows it to say it does not support in-dependence, but to do everything to show the exact opposite – and it elicited an expected re-sponse that was both strategic and unambiguous: Beijing resuming tactical military exercises, but ambiguous about details.

Retired US admirals and generals in the pay of the military industrial complex are now feverishly calling on the Pentagon to engage militarily with China – and open-up another multi-billion-dollar war chest for the weapons manufacturers.

All of this because the current Taiwan administration is hell-bent on seeing the rest of the world go to war over its assumed right to pursue adventurous and reckless political pursuits that endan-ger the lives of hundreds of millions in neighboring nations, from Japan and (North and South) Korea to Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, India and Pakistan – and China.

In pursuit of its political goal, the current leadership in Taipei has opted to continue to provoke China by repeatedly inviting and accommodating US legislators to visit the island.

In the name of pursuing better for Taiwanese, the government has also opted to put the lives of the 24 million islanders at stake of paying the ultimate price of just one military miscalculation by either side.

These developments must be seen in the context of approaching elections in both Taiwan and the USA — the Pelosi visit preceding the November US mid-term elections that would see her lose her position as House Speaker if the Republicans win; and presidential elections in Taiwan in 2024, which outgoing president Tsai Ing-wen, now in her second term, won’t be able to contest, creating the need for an unidentified successor.

The US Democrats are trying to outdo the Republicans in rubbing Beijing the wrong way over Taiwan and Madam Tsai’s Democratic People’s Party (DPP) is trying hard to face voters with claims of demonstrated US and Western support for Taiwan’s independence.

Like in Ukraine, Washington continues to play hop-scotch with Taiwan insofar as the extent of military support it’s prepared to give, should the current stand-off come to a breaking point.

But there’s nothing strategically ambiguous about China’s demonstrated ability to successfully occupy Taiwan militarily, at whatever cost, to avoid political separation or a severing of the is-land’s historical umbilical cord with the mainland.

As the world knows, independence isn’t established by political declarations of intent or wishes of political leaders and parties, or elected local governments in non-independent territories.

But in Taiwan’s case, this traditional rule of the colonial thumb does not seem to apply, as far as the nations that built empires on the backs of colonies worldwide are concerned.

In pursuit of new neo-colonial and imperial expansion, the former colonial powers – including Japan that once colonized Taiwan — are today effacing history to make it appear the island has always been a ‘self-ruled dynamic democracy’ that China simply does not want to become inde-pendent.

Again, like in Ukraine where history has been scrubbed by the Western media to influence global public opinion against Russia, the mainstream global media continues to describe Taiwan as if it’s a nation struggling to defend its independence.

But the island has never been independent — and (believe it or not) independence has never been supported outright by Taiwanese.

Before the Pelosi visit, polls showed that only just over five percent (5%) supported independ-ence, with most supporting ‘maintaining the status quo’ and less supporting ‘reunification’.

The current opposition Kuomintang Party (KMT), which originally exiled to Taiwan in 1949 with 1.5 million supporters after Chiang Kai-shek’s ruling forces lost the guerilla war by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), today supports closest of friendly and business ties with China.

While the DPP has been loudly touting independence for the past six years, it also quickly and largely reversed eight years of ultra-close cooperation with the mainland (initiated by the KMT under President Ma Ying-jieu between 2008 and 2016) that saw both sides flourish in trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts.

The Pelosi visit exposed Taiwanese citizens to the prospects of war and last Sunday’s quadruple repeat was sure to be seen by Beijing as an ultimate provocation.

Since the Pelosi visit, the DPP’s leaders and government spokespersons have insisted that “Only the Taiwanese people will decide on their independence.”

But those making this proclamation know, for sure, this is not and will likely never be the case.

Living for 73 years in the shadow of China’s insistence on peaceful reunification instead of a mil-itary confrontation over independence, Taiwanese have grown accustomed to and feel safer with the ‘status quo’ that allows for internal self-rule without formal separation.

China is still the island’s main trading partner and has suspended economic ties in several areas that have already started taking effect, spelling more possible bad news for the DPP ahead of the crucial 2024 elections that it considers it simply cannot afford to lose.

But it’s becoming clearer, by the day, that prospects for Taiwan’s independence are, without doubt and even with threats of war, more distant now than before the Pelosi visit.

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