African countries must condemn Taiwan’s antics

By Phillipa Jaja

Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wei’s visit to the United States of America is set to inflame relations between China and the US and increase tension in the Taiwan Strait.

China opposes all forms of official contact between the US and Taiwan, and has raised strong objections to Tsai’s visit which included a stop in New York ostensibly to receive an award honour last week before she returns on April 5 to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.

 Her visits to the US are being downplayed and deceptively called “transit” by the US side, but there is very little to mask the provocative, illegal and immoral intents since the action goes against the letter and spirit of the “One-China” principle, which the US is obligated to uphold.

However, Tsai, with the encouragement of the US, is determined to push boundaries.

According to reports, less than a year after Taiwan hosted US Speaker of House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Tsai actually wants to contact US government officials and members of the US Congress under various pretexts to seek official exchanges between the US and Taiwan and collude with external anti-China forces.

Politico reports that this will be Tsai’s seventh such trip to the United States since she became leader of the region in 2016 and this one comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated.

The visit is likely to galavanise US hawks, such as McCarthy himself, who according to the influential magazine, Politico, “is one of a band of lawmakers who argue the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to show its support for Taiwan…they’re demanding that the US provide whatever military and diplomatic support necessary to prevent Beijing from attempting to annex the island.”

McCarthy and company have drafted legislation proposing everything from establishing formal US diplomatic relations with Taiwan to lending US military equipment to Taipei in the event of “preemptive aggression” by China, according to Politico.

Further, legislators from across the divide are spoiling for a confrontation with China with one, Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), for example, arguing for “prioritizing US-Taiwan arms sales and training programmes”. Another, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), ranking member of the House Select Committee on China,  is of the opinion that the  Biden administration “needs to expand and strengthen U.S. defense and economic ties with Taiwan, and deliver long-promised weaponry”.

Thus, the situation is incendiary and should not be taken lightly.

Tsai’s histrionics are to blame, and the international community should strongly condemn the leader of China’s self-governing region for the antics which pose real, substantive and continuing threats to peace in the region and beyond.

China has been emphatic in setting the record clear.

A foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning last week said: “China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region.

“We firmly oppose any visit by leader of the Taiwan region to the US in any name or under whatever pretext, and we firmly oppose the US government having any form of official contact with the Taiwan region. In disregard of China’s strong démarches and repeated warnings, the US insisted on arranging the so-called transit for Tsai Ing-wen to go to the US. China strongly protests and condemns that.”

China believes that the US and the Taiwan authorities made arrangements for Tsai to engage in political activities in the US and framed it as a transit to upgrade official exchanges and substantive relations with the Taiwan region.

This, according to the Chinese side, seriously violates the One-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, gravely undermines Chinas sovereignty and territorial integrity and sends a seriously wrong message to Taiwan independence separatists.

“This once again shows that the fundamental cause of the new round of tensions in the Taiwan Strait is the Taiwan authorities repeated attempt to solicit US support for Taiwan independence and the fact that some in the US intend to use Taiwan to contain China,” the spokeswoman said.

China states that the Taiwan question is the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in the relationship.

China urged  the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, act on its commitment of not supporting Taiwan independence or two Chinas or one China, one Taiwan, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop upgrading its substantive exchanges with the region, and stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle.

Cause for global support

Fully aware of China’s strong stance on the issue, the US and Taiwan are continuing with their provocative interactions meant to ensare China into a possible military conflict, which the US – a superpower – will fight by proxy; like the current situation in Ukraine.

For this reason, global friends should support China and condemn Taiwan and the US for political brinkmanship, which could have catastrophic outcomes.

The support for China is principled, based on China’s forthright stance on its sovereignty; as well as

the fact that under the United Nations platform, countries of the world have already agreed to uphold the One-China policy.

But, what does this One-China policy entail and what are they key issues of the “Taiwan Question” ?

“Taiwan is part of China – and this is an indisputable fact,” according to China in a document “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” circulated by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State council and the State Council Office in August 2022.

Further and emphatically, China and the ruling Communist Party of China seek to reunite the nation, and this principled aspiration leaves no room for division or secession.

“Resolving the Taiwan question and realising China’s complete reunification is a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation,” the above-cited document said.

“It is indispensable for the realisation of China’s rejuvenation. It is also a historic mission of the Communist Party of China (CPC).”

Countries of the world, including Africa where all countries except one recognise the One-China principle, should condemn the provocations by the US and Taiwan for their material threats to peace, but also because secession is a counterproductive phenomenon.

The ugliness of secession phenomenon has been seen in regions such as West and Southern Africa, at a cost of millions of lives.

As such, African countries must render their support to China and raise their voice.

Zimbabwe is on record as standing by China and abiding by the One-China stance. The country firmly upholds fairness and justice of the international society, adheres to the One-China principle, firmly supports China’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has given China valuable support on many occasions.

Last year, both Government and the ruling Zanu-PF party condemned the stoking of tensions after a provocative visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, US House of representatives speaker.

Government spokesperson and Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said “Zimbabwe stands fully behind the People’s Republic of China in the face of the intrusive, imprudent and provocative visit by Nancy Pelosi,” adding that the visit sabotages the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

The ruling party reiterated this and emphasised that, “Zimbabwe firmly opposes any actions and attempts to revise one-China policy in any form of state interaction.”

“Efforts, conduct and behavior that offend the one-China principle will inevitably lead to tension,” party spokesman Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa, a former envoy to Beijing stated.

“We call on the US to be true and honest to the one-China principle and desist from brewing needless tension through stoking and fanning separatist tendencies in China’s Taiwan region,” he said.

These strong objections should be renewed to deter Taiwan and US’s irresponsible behaviour that has potential to build an unwarranted conflagration.  

*First published in The Herald

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