Taiwan – China Relations

An unintended consequence of the current unrest in Hong Kong has been to derail Xi Jinping’s proposal to use the “one country, two systems” formula to settle the Taiwan issue.

The Natinal Interest
Date: October 27, 2019  
By: Dennis P. Halpin

In December 2004, the Heritage Foundation’s Hong Kong office hosted a speech by Henry Hyde, Chairman of the then-named House International Relations Committee (now the Foreign Affairs Committee.)    Hyde, a veteran of World War II who fought in the battle for the Philippines, had an abiding personal interest in post-war political developments in Asia, including the challenges posed by a rising China. In his remarks, he saw political developments in Hong Kong as a key test as to whether Beijing would emerge as a responsible stakeholder or, alternatively, an authoritarian threat in the 21st Century.

Speaking of Hong Kong, he said: “Many years ago, those laboring in mines deep underground, faced the deadly problem of the buildup of fatal but undetectable gases.  To warn them of approaching danger, they would bring with them a small and fragile bird, imprisoned in a cage, which became known as the miners’ canary…Hong Kong is the miners’ canary.  Its vulnerability makes it an unmistakable indicator of the course of China’s historic transition and the impact it will soon have on us all. We must watch carefully.”

Hyde died in 2007.  Yet his words of caution remain relevant for Americans today.  These include President Trump who, according to a CNN report on October 4th, made another questionable promise on Hong Kong in one of his now-famous phone calls to global leaders:  “During a private phone call in June, President Donald Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that the US would remain quiet on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong while trade talks continued.”  CNN further reported that the State Department told then-U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong, Kurt Tong, “to cancel a planned speech on the protests in Washington because the President had promised Xi no one from the administration would talk about the issue.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and NBA star LeBron James should also take heed.   Their concerns for human rights and the rule of law are blinded by what Chairman Hyde called in his 2004 speech “the fool’s gold of pure selfishness” – in this case, the glitter of Chinese gold.  Zuckerberg, seeking a breakthrough for Facebook in China after it was blocked in 2009, bought several copies of China strongman Xi Jinping’s book on governance in 2014, so that “he and (his) colleagues could learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics,” according to a December 9, 2014 article in the South China Morning Post.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: DECEMBER 30, 2018 

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will kick off a year of sensitive anniversaries with a major speech

FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to leave at the end of an event marking the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

on Wednesday by President Xi Jinping on Taiwan, China’s most sensitive issue.

In 2019 China will celebrate 70 years since Communist China’s founding. Anniversaries are always touchy events in China, where maintaining stability is the ruling Communist Party’s overwhelming priority.

Next year brings at least six that could unsettle the party, from June’s 30 years since the bloody Tiananmen crackdown to October’s 70 years since Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic at the end of an even bloodier civil war.

But it will be self-ruled Taiwan, proudly democratic and claimed by China as its own, that will be the focus of Xi’s first important, pre-announced public event of the year.

State news agency Xinhua said on Monday that Xi will give a major speech in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a key policy statement that led to a thaw in relations with Taiwan, the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan”.

Xinhua gave no other details.    [SOURCE]

The Telegraph
Date: 9 APRIL 2018
By:  Neil Connor, beijing,  Nicola Smith, taipei
Photo credit: CREDIT: AFP

Aconflict between China and Taiwan is becoming “more probable” after Donald Trump agreed to help Taipei build its own submarines, Chinese media said.

The US gave the go ahead for defence contractors to help Taiwan build an indigenous fleet after repeated appeals from Taiwan for help to bolster its defences against an increasingly assertive China.

The decision has prompted Chinese officials to warn the US against playing the ‘Taiwan card’ amid an escalating trade war between the two countries.

Taiwan first sought help from the US to build submarines in 1969, but Washington and European nations were reluctant to assist Taiwan in building a 12-boat fleet because of Chinese objections.

George W Bush’s administration said it would help Taiwan acquire diesel electric submarines, but after little progress, Taipei launched a plan to manufacture its own submarines last year.

The office of Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen thanked the US for its recent decision, while the defence ministry described the go ahead as a “breakthrough.”

Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) get ready for the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the army at Zhurihe military training base  CREDIT: REUTERS
However, media and officials in China – which considers Taiwan a renegade province which will be reunited with the mainland – expressed anger at US interference in Taiwan.

The nationalist Global Times newspaper said: “The mainland needs to continue to prepare for a possible military clash across the Straits.

“A military showdown with Taiwan is becoming more probable and may take place sooner rather than later.”

Liu Jieyi, the director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said “some Americans indeed intend to play the Taiwan card”.

“This will not only harm the entire Chinese people, but harm rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots,” he said, according to Xiamen TV.    [FULL  STORY]

’CONSTRAINED’:Taiwan’s defense capability, the US deterrent and Taiwan’s deep economic ties to the rest of the world could limit China’s options, Michael Mazza said

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 17, 2016
By: William Lowther / Staff reporter in Washington

China has effectively “lost Taiwan,” a researcher told a conference in Washington on Wednesday.

“Willing, peaceful, unification is out of the question — certainly in the near term and most likely in the china-taiwan-conflict-1medium term as well,” said Michael Mazza, a research fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

He said there was little interest in Taiwan for a “one country two-systems” arrangement and that for the young Taiwanese the idea that China and Taiwan were part of “one China” was “increasingly an anachronism.”

Addressing a Heritage Foundation conference on “Taiwan in international organizations” Mazza said that the more Taiwan regularly interacts with other countries the more other countries are likely to care about Taiwan’s fate.     [FULL  STORY]

Date: May 8, 2016
Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

The incoming Taiwanese government on Sunday accused China of “political interference”

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou (R) shakes hands with President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (L) after discussing the transfer of power in a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou (R) shakes hands with President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (L) after discussing the transfer of power in a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

after a senior Chinese official cast doubt over the island keeping its observer status at the World Health Organisation if bilateral relations deteriorated further.

China and self-ruled Taiwan underwent a rapprochement under the outgoing government which was run by China-friendly Nationalists, but ties have begun to strain with their successors, the independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Tsai and the DPP won landslide presidential and parliamentary elections in January, in part on rising anti-China sentiment on the island. She has said she will maintain the status quo with China, but has never conceded to a key bilateral agreement, the “one China” principle.     [FULL  STORY]