China Accuses US Taiwan Delegation of Undermining ‘Peace, Stability’, Says Support Efforts 'In Vain'
© REUTERS / Taiwan Ministry of Foreign AffairsMike Mullen, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff greets Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as he and other members of the U.S. delegation arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan March 1, 2022.
The day after the 50th anniversary of the Shanghai Communique, which outlined a program for peaceful coexistence between China and the US and the end of US support for Taiwan, Washington sent a new delegation to Taipei to express its support for the island nation.
US President Joe Biden has sent a group of former high-ranking security officials on a visit to Taiwan on Tuesday in an effort to demonstrate Washington’s support for the autonomous island.
According to Reuters, which broke the news based on reports from anonymous senior administration officials, the delegation includes the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, former Deputy National Security Advisor Meghan O'Sullivan, and Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense who was once considered Biden’s top pick to head the Pentagon. Two former National Security Council senior directors for Asia, Mike Green and Evan Medeiros, are accompanying them.
The group met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, and other senior officials in Taipei.
At a press conference earlier on Tuesday, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang said the US visit underlines "the importance of Taiwan-US relations," "Taiwan's important status," "the US' emphasis on regional peace, and its firm support for Taiwan.”
© REUTERS / Taiwan Ministry of Foreign AffairsMike Mullen, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other members of the U.S. delegation arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan March 1, 2022.
Mike Mullen, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other members of the U.S. delegation arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan March 1, 2022.
Beijing had few kind words about the visit, as it views Taiwan as a Chinese province in rebellion and thus Washington’s continued support for Taipei as a meddling in Chinese internal affairs. The Taipei government is all that remains of the old Republic of China, which lost the Chinese Civil War to the communists in 1949. On the mainland, the communists founded the People’s Republic of China, but the RoC persisted on Taiwan, which the Red Army could not invade.
“The Chinese people are firmly determined and resolved to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters on Tuesday.
“The attempt by the US to show support to Taiwan will be in vain, no matter who the US sends. China urges the US to abide by the one-China principle and stipulations in the three China-US joint communiqués, stop all forms of official interactions with Taiwan, and handle Taiwan-related issues in a prudent manner, lest it should further undermine the larger interests of China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Wang added.
The US visit comes just one day after China commemorated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the first of those joint communiques, the Shanghai Communique, on February 28, 1972. US President Richard Nixon and Chinese leader Mao Zedong signed the joint statement in Shanghai, during the first visit to the PRC by any US leader.
The communique laid out the two nations’ commitment to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect, but also saw Washington move toward ending its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as the legitimate Chinese government. However, it took another seven years before the US formally changed that recognition, acknowledging Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China, in a second communique in 1979. A third communique, in 1982, included an agreement that the US would move toward ending its military support for Taiwan.
© Oliver F. AtkinsUS President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai speak at a banquet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on February 21, 1972.
US President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai speak at a banquet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on February 21, 1972.
The visit also comes just days after a US warship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson, sailed through the Taiwan Strait - an action Washington routinely performs under the guise of Freedom of Navigation but that many consider to be a demonstration of its contempt for Beijing’s claiming of the strait.
Wang said the “true intention” of the US is “to embolden the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” which includes Tsai’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“[S]uch a move will only accelerate the demise of the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” Wang said, adding: “The US will also pay a heavy price for its adventurist act.”
“If the US tries to intimidate and pressure China in this way, then we have this stern warning: the so-called military deterrence will be reduced to scrap iron when facing the steely great wall of the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” the spokesperson also said.
It also comes amid a military operation by Russia in Ukraine, where Moscow says it is chasing down neo-Nazi forces responsible for years of war against the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass region. The operation was preceded by Moscow’s recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the Donbass, and includes the demands that Ukraine forswear membership in NATO, as it would create according to Moscow an intolerable and existential threat to the Russian Federation.
Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the Donbass republics, former US President Donald Trump predicted that China would “go after Taiwan” next - but added that when he was in the White House, neither country would have made such a move.
Last month, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Beijing and issued a joint statement on the two nations’ friendship, predicting a “redistribution of power in the world” away from the US and Western Europe and toward multipolarity. However, the New York Times, the United States’ “paper of record,” denounced the statement as “A New Axis,” claiming the China-Russia relationship aimed to “make the world safe for dictatorship” and comparing it to the Hitlerite alliance between fascist forces that immediately preceded World War II.