By Herman Tiu Laurel
Several news items from the US and Western media came off the press this past week, it gives an indication of the provocations the US is plotting again this 2023 to stir tension in the Asia-Pacific region and provoke China and the countries of Asia and ASEAN.
The first news item is US Republican congressmen introducing a resolution calling for the US to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign, independent state and for the US to resume formal diplomatic ties with the island province of China.
This resolution blatantly violates the US “One China” policy -- that has been in place since 1972 and stated in the US-China Shanghai Communiqué of that year -- and crosses the supreme “red line” China has made crystal clear is not to be crossed by the US.
The second news from the US is the planned visit of new US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy which the reports say the Pentagon is now preparing security and other arrangements in anticipation of the possible stern responses from China reminiscent of the Taiwan “blockade” after the April 2022 Pelosi visit.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her very provocative visit to Taiwan over the intense objections of China which resulted in a 5-day demonstration of China’s power by blockading Taiwan for five days as the US stood by helpless, and saw all direct talks with China cancelled.
Then the latest incendiary news over Taiwan is US Gen. Mike Minihan predicting that the US and China will “likely be at war over Taiwan in 2025” the sensationalized reports say, and his reasons? This is what Minihan said:
“My gut tells me we will fight in 2025. Xi secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022. Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason. United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025,”... maybe he should take some constipation tablets soonest.
The reasoning of Gen. Minihan is severely flawed. Xi Jinping has always said, “Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese. We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort...”
The goal of peaceful reunification is, in fact, closer today than it has ever been since 2016 when the secessionist-prone Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Tsai Ingwen won the presidency. Because of the cynical Pelosi provocation, the pro-Unificaiton party KMT won big in Taiwan’s mid-term elections last November.
The mid-terms elections was a barometer for the all-important and crucial 2024 presidential elections which many believe is now wide open for a KMT victory, and would bring peaceful reunification ever closer. Gen. Minihan’s “gut feel” on Taiwan and the Taiwanese sentiment is totally erroneous, to say the least.
If the US is feeling too adventurous about creating a scene over Taiwan they should take heed from a Chinese expert quoted by the English publication of China Global Times, quoting US studies and research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing Dr. Lu Xiang that:
“China’s response against the US would be of higher intensity than that after then House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan island in August 2022”, and I can’t imagine how serious that would be given that the last the US was left stupefied watching from the sidelines failing to intervene in the Taiwan blockade exercise by China.
And the US can not afford to be adventurous these days as its forces are too spread out around the world and the recent experience of problems resupplying Zelensky in Ukraine due to the de-industrialized state of the US economy demonstrates that it can not face China in a conflict over the next five years and hope to succeed.
China has shown and continues to hold its punches preferring to maintain equanimity in the face of US provocations and responding only tit-for-tat after a provocation, as in the wake of the Pelosi visit last year, but when the punch came the US was shocked by the capabilities of the combined power of the Chinese armed forces.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.
About the Columnist
Herman Tiu Laurel is a veteran journalist and founder of think tank PHILIPPINE-BRICS Strategic Studies.