Taiwan, China, US Relations in the aftermath of COVID-19
By Robert Davi
Foremost & First
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a congratulatory message to Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen on the eve of May 20, 2020, congratulating her on the start of the second term in office. In calling Tsai Ing-wen “President” and praising Taiwan as a highly reliable US partner, it was a shot fired across the bow of China. It was the first time in recent decades that a US Secretary of State has publicly congratulated a Taiwanese leader at the start of her term.
Pompeo is doing it to challenge Beijing. Beijing should see that the US government led by President Trump is moving forward on the Taiwan question, trying to challenge Beijing’s bottom line on this question in a “cutting” approach. At the same time, the actions are intended to provoke the Chinese mainland.
The Chinese mainland, more accurately the Chinese Communist Party CCP, will put a visual face on which portrays they will not get carried away by Washington’s moves, and any new arrangement regarding the situation over Taiwan. According to sources, “we China will firmly grasp the strategic initiative of the situation in this region and finally smash all attempts by the US and Taiwan.”
Party officials in Beijing operate under a mindset that they cannot control what President Trump and his politicians do. When the US democratic politicians speak, they followed the old rules of Sino-US relations; it is a scenario of Sino-US relations and the calm situation across the Taiwan Strait, with which Beijing enjoyed the interaction. When President Trump breaks that rule, Sino-US relations and the situation across the Taiwan Strait are in flux. We “China” will naturally adjust our response and play our cards; a senior party official relayed to me in a conversation.
CCP officials openly relay the following messages regarding Washington and the Taiwanese administrations. “They are so narcissistic that they think they can make the mainland China and the CCP uncomfortable and have nothing to do but saying a few words.”
Due to COVID-19 ravaging the earth, the traditional interaction between China and the US on Taiwan has broken down. The future will be up to the two sides. Who will suffer more next? It is hard to say.
What ultimately determines the direction of the situation across the Taiwan Strait is a contest of strength. Not just military force but economic force. The economic power between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is in flux; this is obvious to the whole world.
As China continues to force its “ONE CHINA” principle internationally as one of the cornerstones of China’s view of world order. They feel empowered to mobilize resources from the international community to stop US aggression. China thinks that the support for them will be greater than that for the US and Taiwan when they ultimately collide with China. Xi Jinping who called for global unity publicly at the World Health Assembly believes that the international community snubbed Washington for bringing Taiwan to the WHA73, which in turn further strengthened China to continue its reckless campaign for Global Dominance thru propaganda and denials of the origins of COVID-19.
Beijing will not react directly to Pompeo’s call to congratulate Tsai Ing-wen on her second term, but they will take note, and there will be a Chinese response either overtly or covertly.
China is becoming more powerful, and their attempt to claim sovereignty over Taiwan is undoubtedly growing. As one Chinese official stated, “At this time, President Trump and Taiwan want to play petty tricks at a low cost, which is too naive. We will make them feel pain in some places that they can’t think of.”