Momentous turning point in Cross-Strait relations|Cheng Xiaonong

2021.05.12
Momentous turning point in Cross Strait relations Cheng Xiaonong

Over the last six months, a momentous turning point in Cross-Strait relations has been getting in shape, which was brought about by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) igniting a cold war against the US, yet made the Cross-Strait situation unfavorable to the CCP. Recently, a cover story of The Economist - The Most Dangerous Place on Earth – has talked about the danger Taiwan is encountering. As the CCP continues to beef up its armaments and prepare for war so that it further excels Taiwan in military strength, the danger Taiwan faces this time is palpably more severe than any other one in history. Yours truly is convinced that in this Cross-Strait crisis, the CCP is in fact situated in a position more unfavorable than the ones it has taken up before. With the People’s Liberation Army waging a nuclear threat to the US from the ground up before the CCP posing a threat to Taiwan, the Cross-Strait crisis has gone beyond the Cross-Strait issue and become part of Sino-US confrontations about which the entire world is concerned about.

I issued an article titled Sino-US Cold War Entering Highway at the end of June last year on the Radio Free Asia, putting forward an analysis of the CCP having ignited the cold war against the US. After the CCP accomplishing the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the DuoWei News website released an article named BeiDou Impacts on World’s Navigation Layout; China’s Military Strength Escalated Substantially, declaring: “Completion of the BeiDou system signifies a substantial escalation of China’s military force equipped with the strength to ‘fight a global war’ and ‘fight precisely’, which is able to make surgical strikes on targets all over the world.” Obviously, the nuclear threat got the US in the cross hairs. Incorporating a new type of nuclear-powered submarine in its strategic nuclear-powered submarine fleet in Sanya on April 23 this year, it made more undisguised remarks, professing that the intercontinental ballistic missiles fired from its submarines in the South China Sea are able to strike the US in any corner, as well as displaying the emblem of the new submarine, which shows a missile flying to North America. This can be likened to the Cuban Missile Crisis moved to the era where we have nuclear-powered submarines and navigation satellite systems.

The US military is aware of the CCP igniting the cold war against America, as evidenced by an article written in February this year by US Navy admiral Charles Richard, who is serving US Strategic Command and responsible for nuclear war affairs. Richard warned: “Facing the threat from China that escalates day by day and its operations in grey areas, the US is bound to take action promptly to prepare for the future.” Afterwards, US Armed Forces started a series of deployment of preparation for war and redeployed more navy forces to East Asia in response to the military threat from China that is getting more and more rampant.

US Armed Forces try to prevent the war from breaking out by getting prepared for it.

Against this backdrop, the threat to Taiwan from the CCP will not only serve the purpose of so-called “unification” in the days to come, but also it will be a crucial part of Sino-US military confrontations. US strategy for tackling Taiwan will be to maintain the stability and safety of the island. To the US, the military threats to both Taiwan and the US from the CCP are simply one thing, so have to be dealt with at one go. Since the CCP has made the Cross-Strait crisis a global issue, the US cannot but hamper the CCP from seizing the first island chain for it would wobble US national security.

In terms of international relations, the Cross-Strait crisis this time is a far cry from those in history. It is not merely a Cross-Strait conflict, but the part of worldwide war risk. Taiwan is now the front line of Sino-US cold war. When the CCP ignited the cold war against the US, it didn’t take into consideration that it wouldn’t burn out by itself once enkindled. It is a zero-sum game for both until one party is totally defeated. That is the lesson learned from the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. The cold war between the US and China wouldn’t be different. The US military now spares no effort in beefing up its deployment in the Indo-Pacific region in an attempt to prevent the war from breaking out by getting prepared for it

Having scored a victory in the Pacific war, the US understands the history of that war pretty well. China’s plan to expand its navy force is very similar to the Empire of Japan vigorously stepping up its navy force in the ’20s and ’30s last century. Looking at the role taken by the CCP in the Cross-Strait crisis from this perspective, one will find that if by any remote chance the CCP captures Taiwan, it will be encouraged to further harbor an ambition to go for the world, taking the US as a target they can launch assaults on and oppress, and Taiwan a base of military operation at the front line, the devastation of which won’t be a big deal. So, its military threat to the US will be moved to Taiwan, while the South China Sea will be reduced to an area of minor importance. On the contrary, if Taiwan, the US and Japan try to prevent the war from breaking out by getting prepared for it, peace will be sustainable. If this happens, the CCP might settle for the second best by making the South China Sea its operation base for its nuclear-powered submarines targeted at the US. To this end, the CCP will strengthen its occupation of the South China Sea, as well as its deployment against Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

(Cheng Xiaonong, visiting scholar in the US)

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