Pelosi effect: China shifts stance on Taiwan - GulfToday

Pelosi effect: China shifts stance on Taiwan


Nancy Pelosi

China seems to have made a clear shift in stance towards Taiwan in the wake of United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s dramatic and provocative visit to Taiwan last week. Reuters reported that after carrying out high-stakes military drills around Taiwan, China of President Xi Jinping has in a white paper withdrawn its earlier commitment to leave Taiwan as an autonomous region if it takes over the island.

In the 1993 and 2000 white papers, China had said that after “reunification” it would not send troops or administrative personnel, indicating that Taiwan’s autonomy would be maintained. But a reading of the latest white paper shows that there is a misinterpretation. China still swears by the principle of One Country, Two Systems that operates in Hong Kong and Macao, and which it wants to extend to Taiwan after reunification. And the new document says that force will be used as a last resort.

The white paper was released on Wednesday. It was released by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and the State Council Information Office. The white paper was titled, “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era.” The “New Era” is a reference to President Xi Jinping’s formulation of the future of China. The document reiterates earlier resolutions, like the 2005 one under the Anti-Secession Law, and the National Security Law of 2015. The 2005 anti-secession law says, “There is only one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division.” And the National Security Law says, “The sovereignty and territorial integrity of China brook no violation or separation. Safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity is the common duty of all Chinese citizens, including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan compatriots.”

While reiterating and upholding the principle of One Country, Two Systems, which operates in Hong Kong and Macao, and which is promised to be the model of Taiwan after re-unification, the white paper however clearly hints at use of military force to defend the basic idea that Taiwan is part of China. It says, “We will always be ready to respond with use of force or other necessary means to interference by separatist elements.” It also asserted, “We will work with greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification. But we will not renounce the use of force , and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities. In no way does it target our fellow Chinese in Taiwan. Use of force would be the last resort taken under compelling circumstances. We will only be forced to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or external forces should they ever cross our red lines.”

There is little doubt left that Wednesday’s white paper is a response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, and Beijing is making it clear to Washington that it will use force against Taipei if it egged on the US to defy China and assert its independence. This completely rules out limited or total autonomy of Taiwan or its independence. Some of the Taiwanese leaders have been suggesting the possibility of two Chinese states, which seems to enjoy the approval of American strategists. China is opposed to any kind of independence to Taiwan. The Pelosi visit has forced Xi Jinping’s China to say peace negotiation with Taiwan is an option, but it is not the only one. China would use force if it is compelled to do so. Speaker Pelosi, President Biden will have to rethink Taiwan.

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