Xi and Wang's Warning Fires First Shot in South China Sea
By Chen Hsi
China Times, October 24, 2020
On October 22, at a seminar in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Taiwan’s Retrocession, Chairman Wang Yang of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) reiterated that peaceful unification under “One Country, Two Systems” has always been the policy of mainland China. In history, Chinese unification has always been by force and gave rise to the tragedy of internecine war. At present, Wang said, no one wants to see the repetition of this tragedy. So even there is a slight possibility of peaceful unification, China will do its best to avoid a war in the Taiwan Strait. However, if Taiwan colludes with foreigners to build itself up, then a war will break out. China is not afraid of war, but if there is foreign intervention for Taiwan's Independence, then there is no room for peace.
On October 23, at the 70th Anniversary of the Korean War, President Xi Jinping, quoting Chairman Mao, said that the Chinese people have been organized and are not to be messed with. If you mess with them, you will not be happy. Xi added that the Chinese people will fight head on against aggression and division of our sacred land. Xi also criticized the United States that any hegemony, bully will not work, they will die in a dead end. Xi went further: Against aggressors, China will use the language they understand, to end war with war, to win peace and respect with victory.
At the time when the United States engaged with China in a trade war, increased arms sale to Taiwan, and conducted "visits" among American, Chinese, and Taiwanese fighters in the sky of Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, the Chinese leadership has been very restrained. Now Chairman Wang and President Xi issued very strong speeches in two consecutive days is a fact worth observing.
Judging from the tone and content of Wang's and Xi's speeches, it is clear to the Chinese that the United States is behind the confrontation between China and Taiwan. Taiwan is just a puppet, using anti-China sentiment to seek for Independence. As such, to warn Taiwan Independence is to criticize that they "collude with foreigners to build itself up," The aggressor alluded to in the 70th Anniversary of the Korean War is the United States. So what worries China most is the intervention from the United States.
On the day before Wang's speech, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party plans to amend the Law of National Defense, and add a clause "threat to the development interest" of China as a condition to wage war. This is implying the threats by the United States against China's One Belt, One Road, China 2025, and mainland Chinese coronavirus vaccines initiatives. Hence, there is no doubt that Wang's and Xi's warnings are targeted at the United States.
Two news further attest to this. Two days before Wang's warning on October 22, CCTV released a video clip on how PLA air force drove away foreign fighters. Fighters from both sides are so near that their badges and tail signs are very visible. On the second news, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi revealed at the Foreign Ministers Meeting in the 10th East Asia Summit, that in the first 6 months of the year, the United States has sent 3,000 sorties of military plans and more than 60 sorties of military ships "to the South China Sea to flex her muscles and strengthen her military deployment,... wantonly raising the risk of conflict in the region."
According to the public polls conducted by Taiwan Strategy Research Association and Taiwan International Studies Association, 58.7 percent of respondents said they are willing to fight shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers if a war breaks out between China and the United States, that could threaten Taiwan's security. But if they have to fight China alone in a war, that is another story.
How should Taiwan conduct itself if China and the United States engage in a war in the South China Sea? This is one important question Taiwan's ruling party has to figure out at the moment.