Tsai Ing-wen's inglorious role in Pelosi's Taiwan show
Sun Wenzhu
Tsai Ing-wen listens during a press conference in Taipei, China's Taiwan, January 5, 2019. /CFP

Tsai Ing-wen listens during a press conference in Taipei, China's Taiwan, January 5, 2019. /CFP

Editor's note: Sun Wenzhu is an associate research fellow of the China Institute of International Studies. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

On August 3, Tsai Ing-wen, the regional leader of Taiwan, awarded a medal "wholeheartedly" to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who just blatantly referred to Taiwan as a "democratic country" during her eye-catching Taiwan visit, for the latter's "firm and lasting support."

Such a political farce illustrated how eager and desperate the secessionist politicians in Taiwan, represented by Tsai, are in seeking independence by clinging to the United States. Yet flattering and pandering can hardly help more than making Taiwan a filmset for irresponsible U.S. politicians to gain publicity, or a pawn to the U.S. for its ill-fated strategy to contain China.

Both Tsai and Pelosi should certainly know that any form of "Taiwan independence" is a dead end. Taiwan has never been a country since ancient times. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 recognized the People's Republic of China (PRC) as "the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations." The one-China principle is the most important precondition and legal basis of China's diplomatic relations with 181 other countries including the U.S., and it has been a basic principle of current international relations.

There is but one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. Any secessionist attempts to separate Taiwan from China is not only illegal, but also not allowed by 1.4 billion Chinese people, and thus doomed to fail.

Somehow, such a status quo is often challenged by some U.S. politicians, who see China as a threat to the hegemony and priority of the U.S. due to China's impressive development in recent decades, and they regard the Taiwan question as a convenient instrument to disrupt China's rejuvenation by challenging its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Meanwhile, they also wish to squeeze as much resource as possible from the authority in Taiwan, in order to "make the U.S. great again."

Politicians like Pelosi care more about interests flowing into their own pockets with massive purchase orders of U.S. military equipment and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) contribution to the U.S. semi-conductor industry, as well as the votes they may gain from their constituents for "challenging China," rather than the commitment made by the U.S. in 1979 of not seeking official relations with Taiwan in the China-U.S. joint communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations. What they choose to neglect is the actual welfare of 23 million people living on Taiwan Island, and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. With a flip-flopping attitude toward its commitment to the one-China policy, it is likely to be a game for the U.S. to "win and take all."

Logo at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. headquarters in Hsinchu, China's Taiwan, April 7, 2021. /CFP

Logo at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. headquarters in Hsinchu, China's Taiwan, April 7, 2021. /CFP

Yet for Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the U.S. impulse of using the Taiwan question to contain China has been dangerously alluring. Since Tsai took office in 2016, she has been constantly and unilaterally undermining the political consensus of cross-strait relations by refusing to recognize the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, promoting "progressive Taiwan independence," spreading fallacies such as "Taiwan's status is undetermined," using the COVID-19 pandemic to incite discrimination and create hatred against the Chinese mainland, and by attacking the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. Such behavior incited cross-strait confrontation and disrupted the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

Sacrificing the national interests of all the Chinese people and risking the future of Taiwan, Tsai and DPP authorities collude with external anti-China forces, making Taiwan a pawn in the U.S.' "Indo-Pacific strategy," a frontier to contain China's rise. Politically, they join the U.S.-led Western hubbub to heighten the "China threat," and take a "salami slicing" strategy to upgrade its level of interaction with the U.S., Japan, certain European countries and other anti-China powers in exchange for "support and protection," for "expanding the international sphere of Taiwan," helping the U.S. to distort, obscure and hollow out the one-China principle.

Militarily, they squander the tax paid by ordinary Taiwan households to buy more and more advanced yet weapons made in the U.S., in the vain hope of "rejecting the reunification by force." Economically, they interfere with and restrict cross-strait trade cooperation, claiming to join the U.S. side to "decouple" with the Chinese mainland industrial supply chain.

With a trade surplus of $100 billion per year with the mainland, Taiwan has been the beneficiary of cross-strait economic integration and China's rapid development. The security, prosperity and people's well-being of both sides of the Taiwan Strait all rest upon the stable commitment to the one-China principle. Shortsightedly, Tsai and DPP authorities ridiculed themselves by participating in Pelosi's "Taiwan show" at the cost of cross-strait security, yet receiving nothing more than appearing as posters for Pelosi's mid-term election.

In history, the secessionists who betray the fundamental interests of the Chinese people for a temporary spotlight had no way to exonerate their treason. Those who play with fire will inevitably burn themselves.

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