Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
February 21, 2022
Taiwan is a core political hotspot between the US and China, the risk of any immediate war is low. But the implication is serious and should be addressed by both the US and China very carefully. Certainly, if the US and China cannot resolve Taiwan issue peacefully, there would not be a “normal” US-China relation. It is because the US and China respectively view Taiwan from the distinctly different point of view. China considers Taiwan as an inalienable part of the nation, there is one and only one China that includes Taiwan. It is the historical responsibility of every Chinese people to unite with Taiwan because people in Taiwan are Chinese too. US cannot and does not deny that fact as US acknowledged the one-China principle when US and China reestablished diplomatic relation in 1979. At the same time, US cut-off diplomatic relation with Taiwan abruptly and Taiwan felt she was betrayed.
When we discuss nation to nation relationship or people-to-people relationship, US and China can agree on many issues including Taiwan. But when US-China relation must be managed by governments, politics gets in the way. First of all, there is the gulf divide of difference between US government structure based on the US Constitution and the Chinese government structure based on China’s Constitution. In the cold war era, US and China viewed each other’s system as illegitimate and should be replaced by her system instead. That ideology gap persisted. Many US politicians decided that China Nation is different from the Chinese government which is currently run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP.) Any news or message from China could be labeled as CCP propaganda, thus it is false. While the US practices polarity politics and so many voices co-exist at any time, Chinese often does not understand which is the official message of the US government. Further, US has general election every four years and successive administration is free to purse different policy from the previous administration. The recent transition from Trump to Biden represented major policy shifts as well as execution of US policies. It takes time for foreign governments to full appreciate any new US policy. Then the US administration also takes time to develop an interaction plan with foreign parties. The Biden administration has been in office for more than one year, the mid-term election is only months away, but the US has not published Biden’s China strategy. Biden sticks to Trump’s trade war policy against China, but for how long?
So, the US Congress passed the Taiwan Relation Act in 1979 and allowed the US to support Taiwan because Taiwan has never been governed under China’s CCP. But it should be reminded that the Taiwan Relation Act is nothing but a US domestic law enacted by the US congress. There is no international recognition of the Taiwan Relation Act and there is no nation other than the US invokes the Taiwan Relation Act. However, because the US has been the great superpower in the world after World War II, US policy toward Taiwan serves as a guideline for other nations. For example, France sold frigates and jet fighters to Taiwan once, Dutch also sold submarines to Taiwan too. Of course, China reacted strongly, and it took years to repair France-China relation and Dutch-China relation respectively.
China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law was passed by China’s People’s Congress very recently. It is also a domestic law but will heavily impact on foreign businesses with China. It is a long game when business is mixed with politics, especially arm-trade mixed with international politics.
China vows to take countermeasures against Raytheon, Lockheed Martin for US’ arms sale plan to Taiwan
By Global Times Published: Feb 21, 2022 06:00 PM
China decided to take countermeasures against Raytheon and Lockheed Martin after the two US defense firms acted as the main contractors in the latest US arms sale to the island of Taiwan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.
To safeguard China’s sovereignty and security interests, the Chinese government has decided to take countermeasures against the move by US arms firms that participated in the selling of weapons to the island over a long period of time, namely Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin Corporation. The companies will be punished based on the related regulations by China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a routine press conference on Monday.
Wang’s statement comes after the US announced its plan on February 7 to sell $100 million worth of Patriot missile upgrades to the island of Taiwan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded at that time that China would take proper and powerful countermeasures.
The US’ sale of arms severely violates the one-China principle and the regulations of the three Joint Communiqués between China and the US, especially those in the August 17 communiqué, Wang said, noting that it severely harms China’s sovereignty and security interests, China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.
“China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this,” Wang said.
China again urged the US government and relevant parties to abide by the one-China principle and regulations of the three Joint Communiqués, cancel the arms sale plan immediately and cut off military ties with Taiwan, Wang said.
China will continue to take all necessary measures based on the development of the situation, and resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and security interests, Wang said.
The Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, adopted at the closing meeting of a session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 10, 2021, enables China to take countermeasures against those who interfere with China’s internal affairs, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
The countermeasures include refusing to issue visas, banning entry into China, invalidating visas, and deportation, sealing up, seizing and freezing movable, immovable and other types of property in China, prohibiting from conducting related transactions with domestic organizations or individuals, and other necessary measures, according to the law.
China sanctions Raytheon, Lockheed over Taiwan deal
Mon, February 21, 2022, 3:08 AM
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China said Monday it will impose new sanctions on U.S. defense contractors Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin due to their arms sales to Taiwan, stepping up a feud with Washington over security and Beijing’s strategic ambitions.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced the move at a daily press briefing, citing a newly passed Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law that took effect in 2021. It was in response to a $100 million deal approved by the U.S. for maintenance of Taiwan’s missile defense systems by the two companies.
“China once again urges the U.S. government and relevant parties to . . . stop arms sales to Taiwan and sever military ties with Taiwan,” Wang said.
“China will continue to take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty and security interests in accordance with the development of the situation,” he said without giving any details.
Taiwan is a democratically self-governed island that communist-ruled China claims as its own territory. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949.
The U.S. has no formal relations with Taiwan but is its main ally. It has increased weapons sales in recent years, angering China with the sales. U.S. law requires the government to ensure Taiwan can defend itself.
Beijing regularly pressures American companies to try to influence U.S. policy.
In October 2020, Beijing also announced sanctions against Raytheon and other defense contractors and “relevant American individuals.” A day later, the State Department said it had notified Congress of plans for a $2.37 billion sale of Harpoon attack missiles to Taiwan.
It’s unclear what penalties, if any, were imposed. U.S. weapons or military aircraft sales to Taiwan in 2010, 2015 and 2019 drew similar threats of sanctions.
China maintains that U.S. arms sale to Taiwan violates its so-called “one-China principle” and provisions of agreements between Beijing and Washington.
Tensions over Taiwan have been mounting as Beijing has stepped up military activity around the island to try to force concessions from the pro-independence administration of President Tsai Ing-wen. The Communist Party also is using the Chinese mainland’s growing economic weight to pressure other governments to cut diplomatic and unofficial ties with Taiwan.
Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other defense industry giants face controls on sales to China of military and dual-use technologies that have both defense and commercial applications. But they also have major civilian businesses and China is a huge market for aviation, among other industries.