Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
October 18, 2022
One should pay attention to speech by a US Secretary of State, but any speech has to make sense or backed with evidence. After the then US Secretary of State, Collin Powell, went to the UN and waved a vial of detergent powder and sworn to the world that the US had proof, beyond any doubt, that Saddam Hussain accumulated WMD and should be annihilated. The US government did the “job” but later acknowledged that “proof” was a fake. US credibility has never recovered!
The attached news report summarized Secretary Blinken’s speech to US audiences yesterday. We have not reviewed the full text, but the report sounded just like Prof. Blinken delivered a lecture in the classroom: no clear evidence at all to back up his claim. Where is any evidence that China is pursuing unification with Taiwan “on a much faster timeline”? One looks at Xi’s position on reunification Taiwan: there is no timeline at all! Put it in another way, does Secretary Blinken have any idea what was China’s timeline on unification?
Next, Blinken added that the US would honour its commitments to Taiwan and support the island’s ability to defend itself. But most likely, it is the Biden Administration rather than the US would honour its commitment to defend Taiwan. The US policy on defending Taiwan is never clearly “defined,” but Biden’s statements just make everyone confused.
Blinken should read and accept Xi’s position: “We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force,” he said.
It is up to the US readers to take seriously “Blinken said” vs “Xi said” then move forward with engaging properly with China.
The following is a US reader’s comment:
United States is great country with great people. However, it’s politicians are bunch of fools, with no vision, often acting on emotion without thinking about consequences. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq,…, US acted on impulses and ended with humiliating defeat. Now, United States’ actions in decoupling from China will make China have fewer strings attached, indeed will make invading Taiwan more and more likely. China is a continent sized country with 1.4 billion people. If we got into conflict with China, what will the result be? How will it end? Clearly, our politicians are not smart enough to think more than 4 years ahead.
China-Taiwan: Beijing speeding up plans for unification, Blinken says
Yvette Tan – BBC News Tue, October 18, 2022 at 12:09 AM
Beijing had decided the status quo was no longer acceptable, he said.
In Sunday’s speech opening the Communist party Congress in Beijing, President Xi Jinping refused to rule out using force to unify with Taiwan.
China sees the self-ruled island as a part of its territory, but Taiwan sees itself as distinct from the mainland.
Last month US President Joe Biden said US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack – despite the official US policy of ambiguity on the issue.
Speaking at an event at Stanford University on Tuesday with previous Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Mr Blinken said that if Beijing could not achieve unification by peaceful means it would use coercion and possibly force.
“That is what is profoundly disrupting the status quo and creating tremendous tensions,” he said.
Washington has always walked a diplomatic tightrope over the issue of Taiwan and China.
Its official policy does not commit to military action on Taiwan – but US President Biden has seemingly gone against this stance by repeatedly emphasizing that Washington would defend Taiwan.
Secretary Blinken’s comments come as China is holding a twice-in-a-decade party congress, in which President Xi is widely expected to be elected to a historic third theme in office.
In his opening remarks on Sunday, Mr Xi insisted that “complete reunification of our country must and will be realised”.
Tensions between US and China have been high in recent months, especially after a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi.
China conducted large-scale military exercises in response to Ms Pelosi’s visit, something Taiwan condemned as “highly provocative”.
China and Taiwan: The basics
- Why do China and Taiwan have poor relations? China sees the self-ruled island as a part of its territory and insists it should be unified with the mainland, by force if necessary. But Taiwan sees itself as distinct from the mainland
- How is Taiwan governed? The island has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces
- Who recognises Taiwan? Only a few countries recognise Taiwan. Most recognise the Chinese government in Beijing instead. The US has no official ties with Taiwan but does have a law which requires it to provide the island with the means to defend itself