The Global Times picked up on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s statement on Tuesday, in which he said that the US was “going to take every action that we can take, from the point of view of both deterrence and diplomacy” to prevent a scenario where China takes over Taiwan militarily. The message was echoed the same day by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who warned China that a military scenario vis-a-vis Taiwan would be a “very serious mistake.”
Chinese action over Taiwan has raised great concern at the ongoing G7 summit in Liverpool
Foreign Minister Liz Truss has already stated that “hostile nations” must be dealt with at the meeting, referring to China, Russia and Iran in the speech.
However, the Chinese outlet, Global Times surmised that Sullivan’s assurances should not be construed as a “manifesto of US policy,” as the “US simply cannot build a deterrent to prevent the Chinese mainland from carrying out reunification by force when necessary.”
The op-ed goes on to claim that Washington does not really have the “will to defend Taiwan at all costs.”
With US attention also focused on the ongoing tension surrounding Russia and Ukraine, Beijing may be right in their assessment of just how serious Washington is when committing to dealing with Taiwan.
Taking into account a worst-case scenario, the Chinese media outlet said: “It is ‘credible’ that US troops, should they come to Taiwan’s rescue, would be ‘heavily attacked’ by the People’s Liberation Army if ‘reunification by force’ does happen.”
The Global Times predicts Sullivan would be likely to “recall or downplay” his statement later since the “US cannot afford” to defend Taiwan “at the cost of a deadly war.”
With the Chinese Premier having on multiple occasions stated that China will see the reunification of the island with China, the Global Times added this is still true.
It stated that: “Reunification by force will definitely happen” unless Washington convinces Taiwan authorities to accept the concept of ‘one country, two systems and engage with mainland China “on the path of peaceful reunification.”
China blames Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which came to power in 2016, for the escalation, adding that the situation has possibly already gone beyond the point of no return.
Through the piece, China has also warned Mr Sullivan to weigh his words carefully going forward and not to “have a big mouth,” lest he “create more embarrassment” for the US.
Beijing sees Taiwan as an inalienable part of China. However, the island considers itself independent since 1949, when the losing side in the Chinese civil war fled there as communist forces took over the mainland.
While Taiwan is officially recognized by a little more than a dozen countries, it enjoys a strategic partnership with the US. Washington sells weapons to the island’s authorities and provides them with diplomatic support.
However, the US itself does not officially recognise the island nation as an independent entity.
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Tensions between mainland China and Taiwan have been gradually escalating over the past few years, with Beijing staging massive military drills near the island.
Recently, the Government Nicaragua was the latest nation to officially cut ties with Taiwan, and side with Beijing on a diplomatic level.
Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said: “The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing all of China and Taiwan is an undoubted part of the Chinese territory.”
Beijing refuses to maintain diplomatic ties with any country that recognizes Taiwan and has spent much of the past 40 years attempting to isolate the island by chipping away at its diplomatic allies with offers of economic support.
In 2018, El Salvador, Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic all said they would no longer recognize Taipei, followed by the Solomon Islands and Kiribati in 2019.
In response, the US has been forging new alliances with powers in the region including India, Australia and Japan to counter-balance the pressure from Beijing.