by Sabria Chowdhury Balland 29 July 2022
On August 28, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden had a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the request of the former. They had a candid discussion about the US-China relationship. This was the fifth call between the two leaders since Biden came into office.
During the call, President Xi spoke about the pressing need for the two countries to cooperate diplomatically. He stated that this was highly necessary now, further stressing that this is what the world expects of them as the world’s two major powers, particularly at a time when there is global unrest.
The entire point of the call clearly has something, if not a great deal, to do with the inflammatory rhetoric which is being exchanged between the two governments regarding the US’s military interests in Taiwan. There are business interests also but for the purposes of this discussion, the focus will be on the US’s military presence in Taiwan. Over the past couple of years, the US has doubled its “unofficial” military presence in Taiwan. This is, very understandably, not something that China can or should be accepting of.
It is necessary to mention that the US fully supports the One China Policy. The US State Department’s website clearly states:
“The United States approach to Taiwan has remained consistent across decades and administrations. The United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we do not support Taiwan independence; and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means.”
Even on the call with the Chinese leader, Biden reiterated that the US’s belief in the One China Policy has not and will not change and that it does not support Taiwan’s independence, contrary to what optics suggest more often than not. The One China Policy, which the US claims to adhere to, stipulates that Taiwan is a part of China, so much so that the website of The People’s Republic of China’s website clearly states:
“There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China. The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China. This is the fact recognized by the United Nations and over 160 countries, including the United States of America which established diplomatic relations with China 20 years ago.”
This point of view is one which the US government and the US President openly and willingly agree to. In theory. If the US’s words are to be taken seriously, what has it doubled its military bases in Taiwan, a Chinese territory?
For the sake of discussion, imagine that China established military bases in the US territory of Puerto Rico (the Bay of Pigs incident of 1961 comes to mind). Would the US sit quietly and trust that China has placed a significant military presence at its doorstep to simply enjoy the view?
In the most recent episode of Washington theatrics, the US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been adamant about visiting Taiwan. Being a prominent member of the US government, and the second in line to the US Presidency, a visit by her to Taiwan can only be viewed as antagonistic by the Chinese government. Once again, using the hypothetical analogy of the third highest ranking Chinese politician insisting on visiting Puerto Rico where China has a considerable military presence clearly illustrates why China would be concerned, outraged and distrustful of US intentions.
Although Joe Biden and his administration maintain that they are against Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, one cannot help but wonder if this is not just what it seems like….dramatics, the Washington version of “good cop, bad cop.” Someone needs to remind President Biden that actions really do speak louder than words.
The US penchant for perpetual war, for the continual prioritization of the military industrial complex over all else, for the fabrication of existential threats which require immediate military action, etc. has become old news. It surprises no one any longer when the White House announces that the US has to get involved in a fabricated crisis to restore or establish “democracy” outside its borders.
We all know, unfortunately, what this “democracy” means, and like China, we are not fooled by the rhetoric.