China Daily

No room for interfering in Taiwan question

Despite the discussions about the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, the main focus of attention of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore over the weekend was on the Asia-Pacific and what is perceived to be the most likely flashpoint for a potential conflict between China and the United States — the Taiwan question.

The concern about the escalating frictions sparking an explosive incident was given greater substance by some of the participants bringing their anti-China agenda to the meeting with a view to turning the occasion into an opportunity to fly the flag for their cause and rally Asian countries and international public opinion against Beijing.

In light of this, that the Chinese and United States defense chiefs had their first in-person meeting since 2022 was of great significance. The two militaries share an imperative need for open lines of communication.

Their face-to-face meeting was thus a welcome development to those hoping Beijing and Washington can defuse their relations, as was the news that the two sides are to resume conversations between their theater commanders.

Judging from what was heard in Singapore over the past few days, fears of the worst-case scenario are not far-fetched, despite all the talk about avoiding it.

On Taiwan, Washington and Beijing have made things sufficiently clear to each other — Beijing has no room to back off since it is a matter of sovereignty and territorial integrity; Washington has no intention of backing off as the island is a key tool of its strategy to contain China, being a means to put pressure on Beijing and solicit others to assist it in that cause.

Washington will therefore continue to hollow out its legal obligation to uphold the “one-China” principle as recognized in international law and carry on militarizing the island with arms sales and military assistance, seeking to embolden the separatists on the island in an attempt to distort the Taiwan question, mislead international public opinion and so intensify its efforts to contain China with the Taiwan question.

Beijing, as Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun said in Singapore, will oppose any interference in the Taiwan question, which is purely an internal affair of China, and it will decisively quash any attempt at Taiwan’s “independence”.

On the Taiwan question, the US’ messaging provokes unrealistic fantasies in the “independence-minded” Democratic Progressive Party decision-makers who are stepping up their efforts to pursue “Taiwan independence” in an incremental way, by severing the social, historical and cultural links across the Taiwan Strait with the aim of realizing the “desinicization” of the island.

In his keynote speech at the meeting, Dong left no room for ambiguity about Beijing’s position, saying that it has always been committed to peaceful reunification, but that this prospect is being undermined by “Taiwan independence” elements with the collusion of external forces.

Stating bluntly that the fanatical separatists are betraying the Chinese nation and their ancestors with their bid to cleave the island from the motherland, he said they will be nailed to the pillar of shame by history.

He also left no one in any doubt that should it prove necessary Beijing will not hesitate to use force to quash any bid to divide the nation. Calling the separatists’ pursuit of “independence” an act of self-destruction, he stated unequivocally that “Whoever dares to sever Taiwan from China will be crushed”.

The Taiwan question is China’s fundamental core interest, and the fact that there is only one China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, of which the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate representative, is an established historical fact enshrined in historical treaties and United Nations resolutions.

It is the US’ breaking of international law and its ill-judged and ill-intentioned emboldening of the separatists on the island that risk igniting the fuse in the Taiwan Strait.

Editorial, China Daily

Categories China Daily Opinion