Letters & Opinion

No Turning Back in the China-US Showdown Over Taiwan – Part 4

Chiseling the Truth to Fit the Narrative

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Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

With another United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) around the corner and the next annual meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) starting before the month ends, China preparing for the 73rd Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic on October 1 and Taiwan readying for its annual October 10 nationalist celebrations, there’s even more evidence that rather than subside and improve, the uneasy situation in in Chinese waters will more likely get worse before it gets better.

Taiwan is increasingly adopting war rhetoric while accusing China of military belligerence, the US is increasingly encouraging Taipei’s leaders to behave like the island is an independent nation fighting to defend its sovereignty against a more powerful neighbour, while China is making it increasingly clear that no-matter-what, it simply will not allow Taiwan to become the next (and nearest) US and NATO military outpost in its waters or near its shores – or between the small strait of water artificially separating the island from the mainland.

And amid it all, elections are on the horizon in China, the USA and Taiwan.

China’s 100-year-old Communist Party (CPC), with 96 million members, will host a key congress next month that will most-likely elect General Secretary Xi Jinping to an unprecedented third term, to continue leading the PRC to completion of construction of ‘Socialism With Chinese Characteristics’ in 2049, the PRC’s Centenary.

In November, the US mid-term elections will take place and starting with the August 2 visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Joe Biden and the Democrats have been working overtime to show voters they can play the Taiwan card against China better (meaning worse) than Donald Trump and the Republicans.

And elections are due by 2024 in Taiwan, but it’s clear the outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen and her ruling Democratic People’s Party (DPP) are working hard to separate the island from the mainland, with US backing and hopefully the military support of neighbours like Japan and South Korea.

The situation in the Taiwan Strait and the waters and skies around and over the island is one of high military activity involving live-fire drills, faceoffs and standoffs between two nuclear powers with infinite advanced military hardware and software, threatening regional and world peace as China responds to increasing political provocations by Washington and Taipei working in concert to heighten the tensions by coating bellicose talk with claims of defense actions.

The US and Taiwan have agreed to a $1.09 Billion arms-sale that Beijing insists will be another deep red line in the sand that will draw responses no less serious than immediately followed the ill-advised and politically costly August 2 visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Never mind China’s serious response, three other top US officials defiantly visited Taipei to engage in strengthening of diplomatic, economic and military ties – as if Taiwan is an independent nation and in ways that will knowingly extract serious responses from Beijing, to lay the basis for future claims that China’s military activities in and around its own waters and skies require the already-promised and sold billion-dollar US-Taiwan arms and military equipment.

The Taiwan Foreign Ministry is also aggressively taking the fight to the UN ahead of the upcoming 77th UNGA.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu last weekend issued a statement, incorrectly presenting Taiwan as a nation being locked-out of the UN by the 188 member-states that recognize China and lambasting the international agency for somehow preventing Taiwan from having a voice at its tables.

The statement presents Taiwan as: ‘A beacon of democracy in Asia’ and ‘A force for good in the world’ that’s ‘the world’s 22nd largest economy in terms of GDP’ and can ‘help the world overcome global challenges’, ‘as a responsible member of the international community’ that ’has proved to be a reliable and indispensable partner…’

Flagging it’s self-anointed or assumed indispensability, the statement also accuses the UN of ‘depriving’ and ‘denying the international community of an opportunity to benefit from Taiwan’s contributions…’

On the other hand, while annually asking and expecting allies to knock on the UN’s doors on Taipei’s behalf, the Foreign Minister loudly chides the same UN for ‘allowing’ China – a Permanent Member of the Security Council — ‘to dictate its positions…’

Wu also accuses the vast majority of UN member-states that recognize China of collective ‘wrongful interpretation’ of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, which they all signed-up to and which recognises the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) as the only ’One China’ — and not the Republic of China (ROC) which Taiwan christened itself after the then Kuomintang army lost the mainland civil war against the CPC’s People’s Liberation Army (PRA) and fled with 1.5 million supporters to the island in 1949.

Taiwan, not a member but wishing to at least be invited to attend some selected UN agency meetings, is as blistering in its statement’s attack on the 188 member-states as it is on China.

It accuses the UN of falling victim to ‘China’s increasing rhetorical and military intimidation’ that’s ‘jeopardizing regional peace and stability; and ahead of the 2022 UNGA, it adds, ‘it is worth reminding these leaders’ that Taiwan deserves to be at the table ‘to be part of a collaborative effort to tackle these challenges for the global good.’

Those unaware of the history of ties between Taiwan and China before and after 1949 and how everything changed after 1971 will easily believe the narrative narrated by Foreign Affairs Minister Wu, his words so chiselled to sculpt the image of a biblical David facing a modern-day Goliath bent on making the smaller man his slave, but this time with other Goliaths supporting David by promising to replace his catapult slingshot with a pocketful of guided missiles.

Except that in today’s playout, the other giants are being careful not to deliver the slingshots David is depending on, as the consequences can be too dire for all.

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