Analysis: How U.S. hosting Tsai might further damage China-U.S. ties

During the two-day stopover in New York while "transiting" through the United States on her way to Central America, Tsai Ing-wen was "awarded" for promoting a "closer than ever" relationship between Taiwan and the United States.

As predicted by Chinese mainland spokesperson Zhu Fenglian, the leader of China's Taiwan region did not just stay at the airport or a hotel during the "transit," but contacted U.S. government officials and members of the U.S. Congress.

Under various pretexts, Tsai attempts to seek official exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan and collude with external anti-China forces, Zhu, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on March 29, rebuking Washington's claim of a "private and unofficial" visit.

Tsai is on a scheduled 10-day trip to and from the Central American countries of Guatemala and Belize. She is reportedly scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on April 5 for a meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, though neither side has formally confirmed the meeting.

Such a meeting will be another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, undermines China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and damages the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, Zhu said. "China firmly opposes this and will resolutely respond with countermeasures."

In its third consecutive issuance of rejection, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday at a regular press briefing urged the U.S. to keep its word and take concrete actions to uphold the political foundation of China-U.S. relations.

One-China principle – the foundation of ties with U.S.

The political foundation of China-U.S. relations are laid out in three joint communiques, all of which are based on the one-China principle. The documents, written down in black and white, are seen as political commitments Washington has made to China on the Taiwan question.

In 1972, the U.S. stated in the Shanghai Communique, "The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Straits maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States government does not challenge that position."

In 1978, the U.S. stated in the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China, "The United States of America recognizes the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China. The government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China."

In 1982, the U.S. stated in the August 17 communique that "the United States of America recognized the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. The United States government...reiterates that it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China's internal affairs, or pursuing a policy of 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan.'"

Red lines China and the United States agreed on, such as those on Taiwan, when they established relations in the 1970s, "are being trampled by ignorant and reckless American politicians," said The Economist in a latest analysis of the state of the China-U.S. relations.

In his first meeting with the press in the capacity of China's foreign minister in early March, Qin Gang warned that mishandling of the Taiwan question will shake the very foundation of China-U.S. relations.

Washington's calculations

In recent years, the United States has defined its relations with China as "strategic competition," which Beijing has dismissed as a reckless gamble that aims to contain and suppress China in all respects and will get the two countries locked in a zero-sum game.

Last October, in a significant move by the U.S. against China on technology exports in decades, Washington imposed a sweeping set of export controls to cut China off from certain semiconductor chips and chip-making equipment, heralding what some see as a real "Chip War."

Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China, said the U.S. keeps playing the "Taiwan card" with an eye on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the largest contract chipmaker in the world, to "start a new stove" in the global system.

"It wants to secure a decoupling and delinking, and start a new stove when it comes to globalization," Wang told CGTN. "The U.S. believes that China has been a winner, a strong winner, in the type of globalization Washington had led before. So it wants to build another."

Commenting on Washington's hollowing out of the one-Chine policy, Sun Chenghao, fellow at the Center for the International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University, said the underlying reason was the U.S. perception and views toward China.

"Since the nature of how the U.S. defines its relations with China has changed, how it sees Taiwan's significance and positioning changes too," Sun told CGTN.

Tsai's "transit trip" trough the United States comes at a time when China-U.S. relations are already at their lowest in decades, after a Chinese airship was shot down by U.S. fighter jets in February and the ensuing postponement of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's trip to China, he said.

"The timing of the 'transit' is really bad," said Sun. "That would make it more difficult to repair China-U.S. relations."

(Cover: File photo of Chinese and U.S. national flags. /Xinhua)

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