Preparing For War?
As a forerunner to Taiwanese elections in March, China is once again stepping up the rhetoric against Taiwanese independence. Taiwan’s president, Chen Shui-bian— favored in the election—is campaigning on two initiatives: the drafting of a new constitution for Taiwan, and a national referendum for Taiwanese independence from China.
Chen’s popular initiatives have infuriated Beijing and dramatically increased tension between the two nations to the point that news reports last month indicated China was preparing for war with Taiwan.
Last November, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proclaimed that Beijing would be prepared to “pay any price” to prevent Taiwan’s independence. A Chinese military official declared in an interview with Xinhua news agency last month that China would not be deterred from taking Taiwan by force if the island declared independence.
China believes Taiwan is part of China, while Taiwan refuses to submit to Beijing’s rule. These two nations have existed in this fragile state for decades.
Over the past decade, Beijing has periodically reminded Taiwan of its military and economic superiority over the island in order to discourage pro-independence movements. China has an estimated 500 ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan and regularly conducts military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
With China’s more recent militaristic rhetoric toward Taiwan, the question is, what will America do?
For over two decades, U.S. policy has been to delicately walk the fence to maintain a status quo where everybody was content as long as China did not overtake Taiwan and Taiwan did not declare its independence.
But with China’s recent overt threats to Taiwan, a passive status quo will become harder to maintain—especially if President Chen is re-elected in March.
The U.S. may soon be forced into a decision. Will it continue as Taiwan’s main arms supplier should Chen proceed to hold his referendum? To do so would infuriate China.
The U.S.’s response to China’s recent bold moves is designed to maintain the status quo. Meeting with Premier Wen in Washington last month, President Bush reiterated long-standing U.S. policy, deeming any move by Taipei toward independence “unacceptable.”
Editor in Chief Gerald Flurry, in the August 1998 Trumpet, stated, “How could anyone fail to see that Taiwan is destined to become a part of mainland China? These 21 million people are going to be forced into the Chinese mold; and it is going to happen for one reason: because of a pitifully weak-willed America.”