Fire Your Guns: Taiwan and US-China Relations

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 1/30/2010 04:46:00 PM
The US and China's squabbles are legion: unbalanced trade; the renminbi's value; the Internet; human rights; Tibet; freedom of speech; the environment; global warming; and coddling of despotic regimes like North Korea, Iran, and Sudan. Today, however, we return to the issue of Taiwan which we have covered in many previous posts [1, 2, 3]. The pattern has always been the same thus far: America decides to sell weapons to Taiwan, China makes a fuss of it, and then things are forgotten after a while until the next round of US arms sales to Taiwan. Beijing, of course, has always been viewed the ROC as a renegade province. Hence, the matter of Taiwan has always been regarded as an internal matter demanding others' non-interference. During the days of independence-minded Taiwanese leader Chen Shui Bian, the PRC used to warn that force would be implemented in the event Taiwan declared independence.

So we receive news yet again of an impending US arms sale to Taiwan which has Beijing up in arms. Ironically, I've always found it curious how China expresses alarm about these arms sales when they help alleviate the chronic American fiscal and trade deficits the PRC professes concern about. Once more, PRC leadership is reiterating that Taiwan is the top bilateral issue for these two countries. From our favourite official news agency, Xinhua:
Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that China will postpone bilateral military programs and security talks and punish certain U.S. companies in response to the U.S. government's greenlight on new shipments of advanced weapons to Taiwan. According to a press release of the Foreign Ministry, China has decided to partially halt the exchange programs between the militaries of the two countries...

China will also impose sanctions on the U.S. companies involved in the arms sales to Taiwan, the press release says. Sources from the Foreign Ministry said China-U.S. cooperation on major regional and international issues will also be inevitably affected by the issue. The Chinese side made such decisions since the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan had "incurred severe damage to China-U.S. relations," the press release says.

The U.S. government on Friday announced the plans to sell a package of arms to Taiwan, which include Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and minesweepers. China immediately expressed strong indignation about the sale after the U.S. government notified the U.S. Congress of the plans. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei on Saturday has summoned the U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman for an urgent meeting and lodged a solemn representation.

Such a move is gravely against the three joint communiques between China and the United States, especially the "Aug. 17" communique, in which the United States promised not to seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, and intended to gradually reduce arms sales to the island...

The U.S. decision "constitutes a gross intervention into China's internal affairs, seriously endangers China's national security and harms China's peaceful reunification efforts," a Foreign Ministry statement quoted He as saying. The China-U.S. relations had witnessed a good start last year under the joint efforts of both sides. "This accords to common interests of the two nations," He said.

However recently, the United States stubbornly sticked to the Bush administration's wrong decision on arms sales to Taiwan, and conducted trade protectionism measures against China. "These actions severely disturbed the China-U.S. ties," he noted..."The U.S. plan will definitely further undermine China-U.S. relations and bring about serious negative impact on exchanges and cooperation in major areas between the two countries, and lead to aftermath both sides are unwilling to see," He said.

The Taiwan issue is related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and concerns China's core interests and the Chinese people's national sentiments. "It is always the most important and most sensitive core issue in the China-U.S. relations," he noted...He urged the U.S. side to "fully recognize the gravity of the issue, revoke the erroneous decision on arms sales to Taiwan and stop selling weapons to Taiwan"... "Otherwise, the United States must shoulder the responsibility for the grave aftermath," he noted.

In 2008, China curtailed military exchanges with the United States after the Bush administration approved a 6.5-billion-U.S.-dollar Taiwan arms deal, including 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.
If you're still interested in the PRC's official position, there are jillions more articles in the Xinhua link. There are any number of interesting sabre-rattling statements here:
  • Punishment of US corporations = MNCs operating in China, especially those in the arms trade?
  • Hurt cooperation on regional and international issues = get more aggressive on the trade front?
  • Grave aftermath = punish America where it hurts in the financial realm ("Russia-style")?
Longtime readers know that I am an exponent of a trade war between these two countries to sort matters out. It's not that I'm picking sides, but it's unhealthy to continue with the status quo of subprime globalization. If they won't solve problems amicably, then a nice conflict should go quite a way towards finishing it off. Likewise, Taiwan may be just the ticket to get that "grave aftermath" underway. Really, the rest of the world is sick and tired of US and Chinese posturing. Don't be all hat, no cattle. Just cut the crap and start fighting already. Jeez, even "pro wresting" goes down to the mat eventually.