US-China relations at breaking point

The reckless and provocative trip by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has strained US-China relations to breaking point.

United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, walks with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, as she arrives in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, August 2, 2022. [AP Photo/Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP]

The Chinese government responded to Pelosi’s visit by ending dialogue with Washington on key areas, including military-to-military talks, climate change, cross-border crime and drug trafficking, and the repatriation of illegal migrants. Beijing also imposed unspecified sanctions on Pelosi herself.

“Despite China’s serious concerns and firm opposition, Pelosi insisted on visiting Taiwan, seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs, undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, trampling China’s political ‘one China and threaten the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,’ a Chinese man said. said the Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The eight countermeasures announced yesterday specifically cancel meetings of China-US theater commanders, China-US defense policy coordination talks, and meetings of the China-US maritime military consultation agreement. The Policy The website reported that several calls from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley were not returned by their Chinese counterparts.

The severing of direct military-to-military contacts further heightens the danger of an incident or accident leading to a wider conflict amid the tense standoff between Chinese, US and Taiwanese forces sparked by Pelosi’s visit.

The United States maintains a major naval presence in the waters near Taiwan, with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, with its full complement of warplanes, as well as its accompanying strike group warships. . White House spokesman John Kirby announced further anti-China provocations, with US naval and air transits of the Taiwan Strait in the “coming weeks”.

China is holding its own largest-ever military exercises in six areas near Taiwan, which are due to continue until noon Sunday local time. These involve sending military aircraft into the Taiwan Strait, firing missiles into waters east of Taiwan, including over the island itself, and deploying ships of warfare in areas, disrupting international flights and shipping.

In a sharp warning to the United States and Japan, several Chinese missiles have reportedly landed inside the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surrounding Japan’s southern islands near Taiwan, sparking a protest from Tokyo. The largest US military bases in Japan are located in Okinawa, which is part of Japan’s long chain of southern islands.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had dispatched fighters to warn Chinese planes it said had entered the island’s self-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), some of which had also crossed the center line of the Taiwan Strait separating the island from the Chinese. continental. The ministry said a total of 68 Chinese military aircraft and 13 navy ships have carried out missions in the strait.

The East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, shown with pink boundaries (Source: Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 2.0)

The risk of a military confrontation is increased by the extremely confined space in which these maneuvers take place. The Taiwan Strait is only 130 kilometers wide at its narrowest point. The nearest inhabited Japanese island, Yonaguni, is only 110 kilometers east of Taiwan.

Moreover, the Taiwanese ADIZ, which has no status under international law, not only runs along the Chinese coast, including heavily fortified islets a few kilometers from major Chinese cities, but covers a significant portion of the Chinese mainland itself. . In many cases, Chinese planes cannot even take off without “interfering” with the ADIZ.

In a statement laced with hypocrisy and cynicism, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the Chinese exercises, saying: “There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalating military response…now they have taken dangerous acts to a new level. ”

At the same time, Blinken reiterated that the United States intends to stage further provocations by sending its military into the narrow waters between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland and encouraging its allies to do the same.

Despite early expressions of concern over the inflammatory nature of Pelosi’s trip, the Biden administration backed him and authorized the mobilization of US military aircraft and warships as part of the visit. Today, the White House, its allies such as Japan and Australia, as well as the American and international media are repeating the lie that the visit did nothing to change the status quo surrounding Taiwan.

In fact, the trip is another major nail in the coffin of the one China policy that underpinned the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China in 1979. Beijing insists that Taiwan is an integral part of a single China of which it is the legitimate government. – a position that the United States accepted de facto when it severed diplomatic and military relations with Taiwan and withdrew its embassy and armed forces from the island.

Beijing has repeatedly warned that it will reinstate Taiwan by force if Taipei ever declares formal independence from China. The visit by the top US official in 25 years is just the latest in a series of moves by the Trump and Biden administrations meant to challenge the one-China policy. This included a public acknowledgment last year of the presence of American troops in Taiwan, a territory the United States recognizes as part of China.

Taiwan would be part of China today if it weren’t for US imperialism. Protocols concluded between the United States and its allies at the end of World War II recognized that Taiwan, a Japanese colony known as Formosa since 1895, was part of Chinese territory. Following the 1949 Chinese Revolution, defeated Kuomintang armies fled to Taiwan, where Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek presided over a brutal military dictatorship.

For nearly a quarter of a century, successive US administrations maintained the fiction that the Chiang Kai-shek dictatorship was the legitimate government-in-exile of all of China. This changed in 1972 when President Nixon visited China and forged a near-alliance with Beijing against the Soviet Union. Taiwan and the One China Policy were central to the protracted negotiations that eventually led to the establishment of formal relations between the United States and China in 1979.

The Biden administration is now deliberately undermining those foundations. In doing so, he is pushing Beijing to take military action to reunify Taiwan and prevent the island from being drawn into Washington’s web of anti-China alliances across the Indo-Pacific. Taiwan is not only strategic to China, but home to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which holds a virtual monopoly on the production of the most advanced semiconductors vital for countless commercial and military applications.

US imperialism is consciously exploiting Taiwan and endangering its people, the same way it used Ukraine to provoke a war with Russia. It seeks to provoke conflict on the island and drag China into a military quagmire that will weaken and fracture the country that Washington sees as the primary threat to the “rules-based international order” on which its global dominance rests.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan marks a dramatic escalation in US provocations against China, but Washington won’t stop there. As it increasingly derails the one-China policy, the United States is arming Taiwan to the teeth as part of its decade-long military buildup across the Indo-Pacific region for a war with China with potentially catastrophic consequences.

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