The Chinese government, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, has for the first time in 22 years released a white paper on Taiwan.
The document reaffirmed Beijing’s hardline policy regarding Taiwan’s “reunification,” with the Xi regime declaring that China would be willing to use military force if necessary to counter “provocative actions” by Taiwan independence advocates whom it calls “separatists” and external forces which collude with them.
Meanwhile, China continues to stage a series of military drills in areas around Taiwan in an obvious attempt to increase pressure on Taiwan’s government led by President Tsai Ing-wen.
Intimidation as Hallmark of Xi’s Regime
Military intimidation and diplomatic bluster are hallmarks of the Xi regime. Taiwan and the international community must not buckle under China’s threats.
On August 10, the Taiwan Affairs Office and the State Council Information Office of China, both under China’s State Council, jointly issued a white paper titled, “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era.”
Although the white paper claims that China would do everything possible to achieve peaceful reunification, it emphasizes, “We will not renounce the use of force.”
President Xi had touched on this policy during a January 2019 address on the Taiwan question.
Silence on Chinese Military and Administrators
As for the vital consideration of how Taiwan would be treated after unification, the two previous versions of the white paper, issued respectively in 1993 and 2000, stated that China would not send military forces and administrators to the island after unification.
That promise is gone from the latest white paper.
The white paper contends “peaceful reunification and the one country, two systems are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question.” But isn’t what the Beijing authorities really have in mind annexation through the dispatch of military strength and Chinese administrators?
We need to be even more on guard about a Xi regime that seems intent on menacing free Taiwan.
The Mainland Affairs Council, which oversees Taiwan’s China policy, castigated the Chinese white paper as “further evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s belligerent mindset and vicious schemes of using force and sabotaging cross-Strait and regional peace.”
Finding an Excuse for a Show of Force
The Chinese government under Xi used the recent visit by United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan as an excuse to launch large-scale military exercises in the area around Taiwan.
For one thing, it wants to normalize intrusions of aircraft and ships past the median line in the Taiwan Strait. It also launched missiles that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as a not-so-subtle threat aimed at Japan and US Forces stationed in Japan.
The issuance of the Taiwan white paper can be viewed as one part of the buildup to the critical National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to be held sometime in the autumn of 2022. Its intended target audience is not just Taiwan, but also Japan, the United States, and other members of the international community that support Taiwan.
The international community should adopt a crisis mentality and not relax its vigilance.
Secretary-General of the National Security Secretariat, Takeo Akiba, met for seven hours on August 17 with top diplomat and CCP Politburo member Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) in Tianjin, China. The Japanese government led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida must continue to denounce Chinese provocations.
This is no time to play up the 50th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between China and Japan. All scheduled commemorative events should be immediately canceled.
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(Read the editorial in Japanese at this link.)
Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun