2003 November 20 Thursday
China Threatens War Against Taiwan For Splittist Tendencies

Wang Zaixi, vice-minister of Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, threatens war if Taiwan declares independence.

"If the Taiwan authorities collude with all splittist forces to openly engage in pro-independence activities and challenge the mainland and the one-China principle, the use of force may become unavoidable," Wang said.

The use of the term "war" is quite explicit:

The vice-president of Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office, Wang Zaixi said "Taiwan's President Chen Shui-Bien's recent pro-separatist activities had crossed Beijing's 'red line' and run the risk of triggering a war with the mainland."

With the mainland growing economically the Chinese government in Beijing is growing in strength. There is a definite window here that is going to close on the Taiwanese. If they do not formally declare independence soon it may become increasingly more difficult to do so in the future.

Beijing mouthpiece China Daily editorializes that the US is goading Taiwanese President Chen to continue his drive toward declared independence.

Chen and his ilk would have never had the temerity to go farther and farther against the will of the Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots, without support from foreign pro-Taiwan forces, especially those in the United States.

The Taiwan issue would have never become a question without US intervention.

On the one hand, the United States makes its commitment to adhere to the one-China policy and not to support Taiwan independence, but on the other hand, it gives Taiwan oral and material support, thus laying down a serious obstacle to mainland-island reunification.

Note that the Taiwan government has de facto independence and has had it for a long time. China is trying to prevent the Taiwanese from gaining international recognition as an independent country that can not be attacked by the mainland Chinese without a violation of international law.

The coming election in Taiwan and the threat of a referendum for independence in Taiwan are providing the impetus for the Beijing leaders to strike such a threatening posture.

The threat comes as campaigning heats up for Taiwan's March election. President Chen Shui-bian's re-election bid has gained traction in recent weeks with plans for a new constitution and a law that would allow citizens to call for referendums, which could lead to a direct vote on independence. This has angered Beijing, which still considers Taiwan part of China.

Shih Chihyu thinks that China is trying to get the US to use its influence to stop the Taiwanese drive for a formal declaration of independence.

"There is almost no one in Taiwan to stop Chen Shui-bian. And who's going to stop Taiwan independence then? It has to be the United States."

-- Shih Chihyu, professor at National Taiwan University

Keep in mind that these Beijing leaders who want the US to rein in Taiwan are the very same people who enable the continued development of nuclear weapons and the export of missiles and nuclear technology by North Korea. The Beijing leaders supply food and oil crucial for the Pyongyang regime's continued existince and they may also be secretly happy that the North Koreans are pursuing policies that are widening the split between Seoul and Washington DC. My advice to George W. Bush: Stand by and let the Taiwanese hold a referendum to declare independence. We should be for democracy and against totalitarianism.

The Beijing mouthpiece China Daily is unhappy with the degree of access Taiwanese officials have to the US.

Beijing's official China Daily accused the U.S. government of "breaking its decades-old practice of limiting a Taiwan leader's activities in the United States to an unofficial level," by allowing him unhindered access to the media and freedom to travel while in New York.

It also noted that, in Panama, Chen and Secretary of State Colin Powell had "exchanged pleasantries."

The China Daily is reporting all sorts of quotes of official upset.

"Chen's perverse acts have not only aroused the indignation of all Chinese people, but also prompted us to prepare well to crush the conspiracy of Taiwan separatists," said Li Weiyi, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

The Bush Administration says they can handle the situation and maintain the peace.

A top George W. Bush administration official, reacting to an apparent rise in cross-strait tensions, has said that the US is more than capable militarily to keep the peace in the Taiwan Strait if needed.

"We have full faith that the question of Taiwan will be resolved peacefully, and it is on this premise that we base our policy regarding Taiwan and the People's Republic of China," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said in Washington on Tuesday.

But if Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian wins reelection, amends the constitution to allow direct referenda, and then holds a referendum on independence that wins a majority of the vote what will the Bush Administration do at each of these steps along the way? Will it tell the Taiwanese not to proceed if they want continued US protection? What is the point of US protection if the Taiwanese are only being protected until the Chinese mainlanders can eventually become strong enough militarily to capture the island at some future date when the United States is relatively weaker than China? If you don't think that is going to happen my response is: demography is destiny. How can the US stay economically and militarily stronger than a country that has about 4 and a half times more people, has been industrializing rapidly for a couple of decades running, and that has a populace that is on average at least as bright as Americans?

The Taiwanese say that since they have a democracy they should be allowed to be independent.

"Taiwan is a democratic country. Only its 23 million people have the right to decide its future and what is best for them," a spokesman for Taiwan's cabinet, Lin Chia-lung, said in the statement.

"We can't tolerate interference with our internal affairs by any undemocratic countries," Reuters reports Lin saying.

Taiwanese President Chen refuses to embrace the "One China" policy.

Since taking power on May 20, 2000, the Taiwan leader has refused to embrace the one-China principle that states there is only one China consisting of both the mainland and Taiwan.

China Daily reports the British are sticking with the "One China" policy.

British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said Thursday that Britain would make further efforts to strengthen cooperation with China, stressing that his country would stick to the "One China" policy

Canada, like Britain and the United States, does not recognize Taiwan and mostly for economic reasons.

Canada's position in this dispute is pure realpolitik. Canada ought, in theory, to be supportive of Taiwan. Taiwan is democratic; China is not. Taiwan respects human rights; China does not in all instances. According to Transparency International, Taiwan's corruption ranking is much better than China's. In per capita terms, Canada does more trade with Taiwan than China. But the Chrétien government swoons over that huge Chinese market. Mr. Chrétien has made six trips to China as Prime Minister. On Dec. 11, the day before he hands over power to Paul Martin, Mr. Chrétien will welcome China's Premier in Ottawa.

When (as seems likely) the Taiwanese declare indepdendence the United States, Britain, and Canada are going to have to decide whether they put morality or money first. I'm betting on the desire for Chinese mainland trade to prevent an official recognition of Taiwan by any Western government. But it is likely that the US will, for the foreseeable future, be willing to defend Taiwan against a Chinese mainland attack. So the Taiwanese can probably get away with a formal declaration of independence. But as the US becomes economically and militarily weaker relative to China in the coming decades the Taiwanese are going to have to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal if they are going to succeed in maintaining their independence.

Update: Chen has been anathema to Beijing since the 2000 Taiwanese elections.

In 2000, when Mr. Chen was elected leader of Taiwan on an independence platform, in the first real democratic elections on the island - Beijing's reaction was virulent. Not until a year ago was Chen's name allowed to be published in Chinese state media.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 November 20 02:27 PM  China


Comments
A mainland Chinese said at November 28, 2003 5:12 AM:

I really really wish that Chen Shuibian were braver in provocking my people to the extent that our government would have no excuse not to declare war against the Taiwanees government.

Given that, I hope that

My government will have the guts to follow the idiot Bush's preemptive doctrine and use tactical nuclear weapons to nuke all the millitary and government bases on the island.

My government will have more guts to nuke the US carrier fleet nearby should they dares to interfere. Because the nuclear-tipped Sunburns couldn't be detected as to where it comes from, the Chinese government will then join our friends, the US, to denounce such barbaric attack.

Will that bring nuclear retaliation from the US against China? I doubt as much as you doubt that we Chinese have the resolve to declare war against Taiwan. Assured mutual annihilation will prevent the US from taking such a suicidal move. The big corporations with huge financial interest in China will not allow the increasingly infantile US Congress to declare war against China.

These will all be speculations until Mr. Chen Shuibian does something real smart or stupid. Alas, he may never do it, and we may forever miss the opportunity to see two great nations engage in an unpresedented intercontinental fight, which may lead to WWIII and turn this blue planet into a glorious crematorium that will unsher in the final Nirvana for human kind.

tali said at November 30, 2003 7:18 PM:

blow them all up lets go to war and forget this life of love

James said at November 30, 2003 10:01 PM:

If it all goes down (meaning WWIII) at least we all will be here to witness the end!!!

meh said at January 1, 2005 12:53 AM:

meh if they attack tawain, theres nothing much we can do about it without risking a huge war. Plus china happens to have nuclear weapons so if they invade taiwan then we will have to accept that, otherwise if other countries try to intervene then boooommmmm.

Tim Costello said at February 17, 2005 7:25 PM:

[web site admin note: this comment was cut down to prevent copyright violation. Continued posting of full length articles will get you banned from this site.]

Open hostility toward Japan prevalent among Chinese
(Agencies)
Updated: 2005-02-17 10:07

Gao Hong, a Chinese scholar on Japan, said he was floored recently when confronted with a veritable outpouring of questions in an online forum about China's relations with its neighbor.

"Over 4,000 questions were posted for me in just two hours," he recalled.

Many of the questions in the December discussion were tendentious.

"One Internet user asked me why ... we don't just declare war on Japan," he said.

Randall Parker said at February 17, 2005 9:10 PM:

Note to Vadim Gorshenin, Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, and Tim Costello: If you keep posting off-topic materials and complete copyrighted articles in comments I'm going to ban your IP address.

JC Denton said at March 1, 2005 3:19 AM:

To: A mainland Chinese

Don't underestimate the U.S. Japan has announced that it will help the U.S. to protect Taiwan. I doubt you mainlanders really want to reawaken the Samurai. We sided with you in WWII against Japan, and threatening Taiwan is the thanks we get? If it goes nuclear then I welcome it. Better to die with honor than surrender thyself or thy friend. This will be a good battle.

Steve said at March 20, 2005 2:00 PM:

Now, China regards itself as a major superpower, some may argue it was already but 10 years ago it was without economical backing, therefore not internationally regarded as a threat to world stability.

I remember my grandfather saying to me before he passed away that the next world war would be fought in Asia, having served his country in WWII, his words may become true.

This would make Iraq look like a playground squabble.

If China kicks off, the west has only itself to blame for ecouraging a COMMUNIST government to grow economically strong.

john theki said at March 31, 2005 5:27 PM:

the us could kick china's ass , but if it comes down to nukes hell as long as we bring them down with us I'm game

Mike E. said at April 2, 2005 1:54 PM:

If Taiwan wishes to declare formal independence, they better sh*& or get off the pot. The time frame in which the U.S. can effectively ensure the survival of the island as a viable entity is closing quickly (that being somewhere within 5-7 years). The Taiwanese government should announce an impending referendum, allowing us time to park some Navy at the front door. Then go ahead and have thier vote, pass the idea, and run with it. If Chine tried to invade the Taiwanese mainland, they would never reach the shore. At this point in time, China is not strong enough to risk the collapse of thier entire economic growth experiment in Capitalism and would have no choice but to back off until such time as it was more feasable to reclaim the island. By that time, Taiwan will be a well-established democracy ALSO recognised by the free nations of the world. A Chinese attack would be a very different situation in this case. If Taiwan putzes around much longer, China will be sufficiently prepared in ALL aspects to entertain the idea of a true battle witht the U.S.A. The clock is ticking gentlemen..........

Jason Zaragoza said at April 13, 2005 8:06 AM:

Could all this turn into WW3?

Big B KillA said at June 25, 2005 7:30 PM:

Eveyone wants to rule the world. China is WAY behind the US in technology.

Humphery` said at July 15, 2005 12:03 AM:

Ever heard of the USS Jimmy Carter. That sub alone could put the Chinese out of their misery. It's too bad that Pres. Bush has turned into a left-wing appeasing douchebag.

Bartikus said at July 17, 2005 10:23 PM:

There is a doubt as to whether the U.S government would use a nuclear device if such a device was used against it? You gotta be kidding me.....the U.S government would have no choice for even a bigger threat would rear it's head.....the American people.

Anyone who thinks the U.S would'nt retaliate with a full nuclear strike is delusional....the people would demand it! No point in debating who the losers or winners would be in such a case.....the destruction of billions would be likely.

Arnie said at March 10, 2006 5:27 AM:

Why does anyone think that forcing Taiwan into the ilk of a Communist dictatorship is so wonderful? For more than 50 years the people of Communist China have been living under one of the most oppressive dictatorships known to man. Does it make sense to anyone that Taiwan would wish to join such a terrible situation?

As to war with the USA; I think the USA would destroy China and unfortunately hundreds of thousands of innocent Chinese people. In the latest defense department study done by the Rand Corporation, it is clear that China would have no chance to win in a war with the USA. As to economic losses for the USA; I think we all know that multinational companies are well prepared to move their manufacturing to other existing operation in other parts of the world.

So why oh why do the mature and seemingly intelligent men who control the Communist dictatorship in China want this tiny little island of Taiwan? To go to war over a little spec in the ocean seems to me to be rather stupid of the PRC and it's obviously demented and evil leaders.

The King said at December 5, 2007 11:26 PM:

Let Taiwan do what ever it wants. If they want to be chinks(chineese) then let them be. If want independence The U.S. already has saber rattled by navigating between Taiwan and China with some destroyers and aircraft carriers. If they want to go nuclear the so be it. Theres already enough chinks in california alone, imagine China. I think it would help out their coundry if we severely decreased their population. Plus they all look alike who will notice who is missing. Chneese got numbers, USA has superiority in Military spending and technology. And brains... now some chineese think they are smart, well if they would quit coming to US universities, and no they are not smart they go to too much school in biology to be doctors and 90% wear glasses.Name a smart chineese whose invented something useful! yeah there idiots if the think they can challenge the U.S. they end up like the north koreans are now (without an economy). If it wasnt for the U.S. Chinas economy would still be like the shitty philipines or some gay azn country like that.

YOSHIKIMAM said at February 16, 2010 2:34 PM:

I AM FOR FULL FREEDOM OF Taiwan FUCK YOU CHINA

YOSHIKIMAN said at February 16, 2010 2:37 PM:

Taiwan WILL DESTORY CHINA ONCE AND FOR FUCKING ALL


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