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Is Taiwan card Trump’s next move in act of ‘final madness’ playbook?

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serenades

Nov 20, 2020, 10:54


The US President Donald Trump's administration has become increasingly aggressive on the Taiwan question in recent months. He has also escalated the trend since the November 3 election. 

It will be only two months before Trump leaves office on January 20 if Joe Biden is officially confirmed to become the next president. It is within reason to predict that the Trump administration may show his "final madness" to China across the Taiwan Straits.

He could blow up in anger, buckling under the combined pressures of failed pandemic policies, crippling economics, and the raw humiliation of losing the election. He may stifle Biden by targeting China with a crisis at the last minute. 

There are several possible actions that the Trump administration might take in his final days. These include introducing bills or policies to support the Taiwan regional authorities or secessionists, selling more advanced arms to the island, sending US military planes or ships to the Straits, and arranging for more high-level official visits. 

Of all the senior officials who might pay a visit to Taiwan, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo is being considered most possible and being heatedly discussed. A Pompeo visit will greatly encourage Taiwan secessionists and seriously deteriorate cross-Straits relations. 

Trump has repeatedly played the Taiwan cards in his defiance of Beijing. This has led to widespread speculation whether or not he will play the "ultimate" card in his final acts of madness, for example, to recognize Taiwan as a "country" or establish further official relations with the island. If this ultimate card is played, a "Taiwan Straits crisis" will definitely reach a boiling point. 

But the possibility that Trump uses this card is not high, as this would be operationally difficult and frustrating for him to execute. The administration is now in a caretaker state and is actually facing constraints from the Congress, American society, the Biden camp, and even opposition within the Republican Party. He cannot do whatever he wants regarding policies toward China or the Taiwan Straits. 

However, making a personal statement of support for Taiwan and provocation to Chinese mainland is still rather likely for Trump or Pompeo to do. It is conceivable that they could deliberately enhance Taiwan's international status, and publicly backing its entry into the World Health Organization and even the United Nations. Such easy to say statements are within their control and cannot be restrained by others. Once they make such a public statement, it will inevitably lead to an extremely tense confrontation between China and US. This unsavory scenario could greatly escalate the Chinese mainland's military activities near the Taiwan Straits.

For Biden, if he inherits Trump's legacy of turmoil across the Straits, he will continue to adopt a vague strategy. This might mean curbing Taiwan's pro-secessionist policies, but also criticizing China over human rights issues and for "intimidating" the island. He will not show full support for the Tsai authorities, but he also won't stop using the Taiwan card against the mainland. Biden may also continue some of Trump's existing policies that caused friction with China. However, in general, Biden will make more efforts to strengthen cooperation and communication between the two countries than Trump did. 

In the face of possible coming days of "final madness" from the Trump administration, the DPP authorities will be more cautious about how to play along with Washington. After Pompeo claimed that, "Taiwan has not been a part of China," many voices on the island said his statement does not show love for Taiwan — but it actually harms the island. How Taiwan deals with its relations with a caretaker administration over the next two months will also need to take Biden into consideration. It will therefore not entirely follow the baton of Trump and Pompeo - except maybe for diplomatically worded lip service.

The Chinese mainland will prepare for the worst-case scenario. It will guard the bottom line, and make corresponding military preparations in the Taiwan Straits. Surely, strengthening communication and cooperation with the new US administration for the sake of both countries is totally necessary. But if Trump does make a "mad last move," the mainland will definitely counterattack hard and never compromise.

The author Zhang Wensheng is deputy dean of Graduate Institute for Taiwan Studies of Xiamen University. (Source: Global Times)

4 685
emanreus
rén post time: 2020-11-21 11:47

Even better; after some 20 so years after a pieceful unifaction they might even try to run as a President of the Middle Kingdom.

  Certainly, uncle Sam and the his slave might be rather unhappy.

   However, nothing they could do about it.

Newtown

"But if Trump does make a "mad last move," the mainland will definitely counterattack hard and never compromise."

"If" is the middle word of life: no amount of worrying about something as if it might happen can change the course of events, and only causes problems for the worrier.

rén

Whichever the US administration, it should not think it can use Taiwan as its card against China when China thinks Taiwan is part of China. How does one use a card belonging to another? That's not wheeling-dealing. It's just thievery.

Biden should be very careful what he decides, what his administration's anti-China hawks will also do to prolong Trump's own hawks' sinophobia.

What if China responds with a blockade of the island like how Kennedy had done with Cuba? The Pacific rim tension will be permanent for the rest of the century.

The question Biden should ask and answer for himself - is he willing to sacrifice american lives to defend a piece of real estate that everyone knows physically belongs to someone else?

The Tsai separatism is just a transient ideological construct which won't outlast the present generation of separatists let alone the lifespan of that island rock.

And certainly Peoples' Republic has more heft, weight, range, scale and international legality than some 'republic of'.

After all, taking away from imperial japan some of the named atolls must mean they were to be given back to the original claimant. Since the post-war agreements did not name Taiwan as the claimant, it must therefore mean the US meant 'China' to be 'The Peoples' Republic Of China'. Now why does it still persist in denying its own indirect admission in the absence of its own denial of direct admission?

That is why Biden should also rein in the US bulldogs in its CIA for having incited riots to destabilize Hong Kong which is now back to normal under PRC administration which is maintaining its two-in-one system.

Which is what Taipei should best accept if not to become irrelevant under RCEP. Taiwan can achieve even higher integrated success in Asia and the world under the wings of its Motherland so why kick the can down some dark americanized alley stinking of nipponized urine?

GhostBuster

China must face THE PLAIN PAIN TRUTH that US will be US and that it will enshrine its second to none position of power and authority regardless of who sleeps in Oval Office, White House!