The US Boxes Itself in over Taiwan and Ukraine

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, is reportedly scheduled to visit Taipei in August 2022. The stated purpose is supporting Asian democracy. The trip has more than irked the Chinese.

The trip has obviously not been approved by the one recognized government of China in Beijing. Some may downplay the speaker of the US House of Representatives as being largely ceremonial, but the Speaker is second in line, after the vice-president, should the addled president be unable to fulfill his duties, a scenario wholly within the realm of possibility.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned that Pelosi’s trip would have a “grave impact” on US-China ties:

If the US were to insist on going down the wrong path, China will take resolute and strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. All the ensuing consequences shall be borne by the US side.

The US paid scant heed to the red lines that president Vladimir Putin expressed about Russian security concerns, and Ukraine is paying the military consequences of this right now while European countries are reaping the economic blowback of sanctions they leveled against Russia.

It is now widely conceded that Putin does not bluff.

To underscore the sincerity of China about the Pelosi trip to Taiwan, another Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “We mean what we say.”

Biden seems to be wavering on the Pelosi visit, saying, “I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what the status of it is.”

The US has placed itself in a no-win situation: either it backs down from the provocation of a Pelosi visit or it opens itself to “resolute and strong measures” from China.

The intrigues against China are not new. What is different is the Chinese response. China has become decidedly more forceful in its diplomacy.

The Biden administration carried forward the Sinophobia from the outgoing Trump administration. This was apparent in the meeting of Chinese and American heads in Anchorage, Alaska. US Secretary of state Antony Blinken spoke of:

deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyberattacks on the United States and economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters…

In his remarks, Yang Jiechi, Chinese director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs pointed out salient differences between the US and China:

China’s per-capita GDP is only one-fifth of that of the United States, but we have managed to end absolute poverty for all people in China….

Our values are the same as the common values of humanity. Those are: peace, development, fairness, justice, freedom and democracy.

What China and the international community follow or uphold is the United Nations-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, not what is advocated by a small number of countries of the so-called rules-based international order.

A stage was set in Alaska; China emphatically laid out its intention to follow a peaceful, non-hegemonic world order based on international law.

Nonetheless, the US contrary to signed state-to-state undertakings of a One China Policy has frittered away its word and corralled Europe into its deceit. Thus on 6 July, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg alleged:

China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbors, threatening Taiwan … monitoring and controlling its own citizens through advanced technology, and spreading Russian lies and disinformation…

Japan as American Catspaw

A second US zone of contention is the South China Sea. In the case of Taiwan, the US and allies, such as Japan, seek to undermine the One China Policy.

The recently assassinated former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in late November 2021:

Any armed invasion of Taiwan would present a serious threat to Japan. A Taiwan crisis would be a Japan crisis and therefore a crisis for the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Japan is a former colonizer of Taiwan. Being militarily weak, the Qing dynasty was forced by the Treaty of Shimonoseki to cede Taiwan. The Potsdam Proclamation at the end of WWII saw Taiwan revert to Chinese sovereignty. However, the US 7th fleet intervened in a Chinese civil war and allowed for the Guomindang, led by Jiang Jie Shi (known in the West as Chiang Kai-shek), to escape from the mainland to Taiwan, thereby leading to two claimants to be the government of China.

Japan paid no reparations for its occupation nor apologized for its recruitment of Chinese women into sexual slavery. WWII saw Japanese invaders kill 35 million Chinese,1 including the infamous Rape of Nanking,2 and exceedingly cruel, torturous experimentation on Chinese civilians.

Japan abides in words to the One China Policy, but it hands are tied by its American hegemon.3

Japan claims concern about a threat to its territorial security if Taiwan were to be formally reunited with China. But such a concern reeks of hypocrisy because territorial and defensive concerns underlie Russia control over what Japan calls its Northern Territories, the islands northeast of Hokkaido: Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu.

China Says Blame for the Ukraine Conflict Lies with the US

Taiwan spills over into Ukraine. When a country considers itself a unipolar power, then it will seek to compel obedience with its directives elsewhere in the world. Thus, NATO head Stoltenberg has demanded that China condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

First, what the Russians are doing in fighting Nazism in Ukraine is completely different from the responsibility to protect pretext that NATO cited for fomenting violence in ex-Yugoslavia, Libya, and Syria. Russia finally intervened after eight years of Ukraine shelling Donbass — what Putin calls a genocide. Second, China is a close and staunch ally of Russia and calls for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Since the US controls the anti-Russia media narrative at home and supplies Ukraine with weaponry, it is argued that the fighting in Ukraine represents a proxy war against Russia.

It is little wonder given US non-compliance with the One China Policy that China identifies the US as a belligerent in Ukraine. Nonetheless, it is China that NATO has declared a “systemic challenge.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded in his Regular Press Conference on 6 July:

The history of NATO is one of creating conflicts and waging wars. From Bosnia and Herzegovina to Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Ukraine, the self-claimed “defensive organization” has been making advances into new areas and domains, arbitrarily launching wars and killing innocent civilians. Even to this day, there is no sign of change. Facts have proven that it is not China that poses a systemic challenge to NATO, but NATO that brings a looming “systemic challenge” to world peace and security.

Zhao in his Regular Press Conference on 19 July said:

As the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it, the US needs to deeply reflect on its erroneous actions of exerting extreme pressure and fanning the flame on the Ukraine issue and stop playing up bloc confrontation and creating a new Cold War by taking advantage of the situation. The US needs to facilitate a proper settlement of the crisis in a responsible way and create the environment and conditions needed for peace talks between parties concerned.

In deeds, China has revealed itself to be a steadfast ally. In words, China has become an assertive voice for peace based on international law and order.

  1. See Gideon Polya, US-Imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide (2020). []
  2. Visit the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre, erected on a site where many of the 300,000 victims were dumped in a mass grave. Read Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (1997). []
  3. Daojiong Zha, “The Taiwan Problem in Japan-China Relations: From an Irritant to a Destroyer?” Indian Journal of Asian Affairs, 14(1/2), June & December, 2001: 15-31. []
Kim Petersen is an independent writer and former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.