Politicians should carefully consider the impact that their words may have on America’s international relationships.
Jared McKinney March 26, 2017
The first rule of rational thinking is that one should not assume what one hopes to prove. The first rule of international politics is that misperception is rampant. And the first rule of strategy is that the adversary gets a vote too. Sadly, Rep. Ted Yoho violates all three of these rules in his March 22 analysis titled “How America Should Confront China’s Unchecked Maritime Bullying.” The result is an empty shell of words masquerading as strategic advice. Isolated, this could be ignored; more worryingly—and more difficult to ignore—is that Rep. Yoho’s article nicely represents the resentful, unreflective, incurious and superficial rhetoric that is increasingly coming to dominate Washington’s view of China.
Assuming What We Claim to Prove
Rep. Yoho begins his article by commenting on the economic importance of maritime Asia. Undisputedly, a large amount of commerce passes through these waters. He then suggests this commerce may be threatened by China, which has “possibly” indicated its “ambition to exclude foreign vessels from China’s near seas at will.” His evidence? The increasing strength of the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese investments in Anti-Access/Area Denial weapons.
Confronted with the fact that China has sought to strengthen its military since Deng Xiaoping launched his “four modernizations,” an intellectually curious person might posit a variety of explanations. These might include Chinese embarrassment over its poor performance in the 1979 war with Vietnam, a desire to be recognized as a great power by the United States and Russia, and a commitment to defending China’s territorial interests, particularly given the humiliation it suffered in the 1995–96 Taiwan Straits Crisis. Indeed, if a person took the trouble to speak with some Chinese military officers, or even merely read some standard histories of China’s rise, then that person would discover that this last explanation is particularly salient. China desires the ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Since U.S. actions have threatened—and could once again threaten—these objectives, China is making investments intended to preserve its interests. Here we have the origins of China’s A2/AD investments, and an explanation for Chinese strategy.
But this is not what Rep. Yoho does in his analysis. Instead, he connects China’s growing military power to the possible “ambition to exclude foreign vessels from China’s near seas at will.” This connection is not impossible, and if it were something China was capable of doing, and if it was something China was likely to do, given the region’s importance, then this would be a big deal. But Rep. Yoho never completes that argument. He never informs us why it is likely that China might exclude trading vessels from the region, thereby injuring global commerce.
Risk is calculated by multiplying the probability of an event occurring by the estimated consequence of that event. When probability is extremely low, even when the consequence is high, risk is low. This formula must lie at the heart of all strategic thinking. When it does not, the results are not just irrational but dangerous.
So what is the likelihood that China would disrupt the “$5 trillion” in commerce that moves across the Asia-Pacific region? Most of this commerce is coming from China, going to China, passing through a Chinese port, or ultimately destined for China in one capacity or another. This is a good place to start: disrupting this commerce would be contrary to China’s most important interests.
Seemingly aware of this fact, Rep. Yoho moves on to discuss energy supplies for nations like Japan and South Korea. Perhaps China would intercept those? And what does Rep. Yoho think would happen to the Chinese economy if the economies of two of its closest neighbors collapsed at China’s behest? Does Rep. Yoho understand that a disabled Chinese economy would destroy the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party? Does he know that oil can be sold on a spot market (sometimes as many as thirty times on one journey), making it difficult for a blockading force to tell where oil is ultimately destined? Does he know that transshipment of oil from Southeast Asia would be impossible to prevent? Has he calculated China’s ability to impose such a blockade? Does he know that the South China Sea is a “tough neighborhood for hegemonies” because it lacks any dominating geographical features? Is he aware that China’s neighbors could respond with their own A2/AD networks, locking China out of the region’s seas? Does he realize the United States could easily respond tit-for-tat in the Persian Gulf, for China, too, is dependent on oil imports? And has he considered that such a move would forever alienate China’s neighbors and most of the globe’s respectable powers? The answer to all these questions is an apparent “no.” But if someone did bother to answer them, then that person would come to the realization that it would be literally suicidal for China to disrupt the commerce of the Asia-Pacific region. Further reflection would likely yield the conclusion that China could not effectively do so even if it so desired.
Where then is the evidence that China’s military investments are intended to disrupt the commerce of the Asia-Pacific region? None has been offered. What Rep. Yoho desires to prove he has merely assumed. Until evidence is provided to the contrary, the risk of China destroying the maritime commerce of the Asia-Pacific region should be assessed as close to nonexistent.
Misperception Is Rampant
Rep. Yoho seems to believe that Chinese “belligerence” is running in a straight line, and as a result of the Obama administration’s failure to “impose costs,” China is running rampant, bullying its neighbors. This view misperceives the extent to which the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized. Indeed, in the last year, both the Philippines and Vietnam have ended their open rivalry with China and engaged in bilateral negotiations. Knowledgeable diplomats believe an Association of Southeast Asian Code of Conduct will be agreed upon this year, and Chinese insiders have told me that China is committed to seeing it through. China is no longer building the types of islands that so concern Rep. Yoho and Filipino fishermen are back at Scarborough Shoal. In East and Southeast Asia, foreign-policy elites are now more worried about being dragged into a U.S.-China conflict than Chinese “assertiveness.” Japanese nationalism, naturally, remains alive and well, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense issue has made China-South Korea ties the worst in recent history, but these are separate issues.
Yet even if interactions in the South China Sea have stabilized, there remains plenty of room for misperception. For example, Rep. Yoho claims that China’s seizure of America’s unmanned underwater vehicle in December 2016 was “a transparent attempt to deliberately engineer an international incident.” This is an assertion, but not an argument (see point one above). Furthermore, this statement assumes a good many things about China that may not, in fact, be true. Why would China want to engineer a conflict with the incoming Trump administration, which has not yet decided how it’s going to deal with China? Is Rep. Yoho aware, as I have previously argued, that it could be that the United States was the actual engineer of this international incident? Even more significantly, as I have recently learned from conversations with two dozen Chinese foreign-policy experts, within China there is a sound consensus that the seizure of the unmanned underwater vehicle was not authorized by China’s political leaders. If this is the case, then Rep. Yoho is perceiving an unauthorized Chinese move as an intentional political challenge. In other words, that is a common case of misperception.
The Adversary Gets a Vote Too
The single most extraordinary fact about Rep. Yoho’s article is that he never once considers whether his solution for Chinese “belligerence”—imposing costs—will, in fact, change Chinese behavior in the way he intends. Anticipating an adversary’s response is the most basic rule of strategy. This rule is endemic to human interaction, and highlighted in certain games, such as chess. Only a fool would move first and consider consequences later.
Yet this is what Rep. Yoho would have us do. He suggests a series of moves: more freedom of navigation operations, commercial sanctions, punishing (though expressed in more diplomatic terms) the Philippines for its realignment and disinviting China from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific naval exercise while inviting Taiwan. Rep. Yoho merely assumes these moves will result in his preferred outcome. Yet there are alternative possible outcomes. One is that such moves change nothing. Minor pokes are not going to force China to fundamentally alter its strategy. Another alternative is that China escalates tensions, but in its own way. Perhaps it more closely tails U.S. forces in the region. Perhaps it increases its long-term military investments. Or perhaps it punishes American “allies,” such as Taiwan.
The most likely outcome need not be assessed in this essay. My present plea is only that we—as Americans—reorient our thinking. If the United States is going to formulate intelligent strategies in this increasingly complicated time, simple assertions need to be excised from our strategic discourse. The National Interest and other serious foreign-policy publications should not publish a single new essay on the theme of changing U.S. strategy towards China unless that essay carefully considers how China (and other regional actors) would respond to such a change. Strategic interactions are dynamic, and, like good chess players, we must model probable action-reaction cycles to the best of our ability. In the realm of international politics, the rules are not as certain as those of chess, but that is no excuse. In real life, our decisions could result in conflict or even war. As chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Rep. Yoho has a particularly weighty responsibility in this regard—one that his piece in the National Interest sadly neglects.
I have been forced to take a negative tone in this article, but I do so for a constructive purpose: we can do better than this. Indeed, if peace is going to be preserved in the coming decade, we must do better. Doing better means formulating thoughtful arguments. That means justifying assumptions, considering alternative explanations and being genuinely curious about discovering the truth. Doing better means realizing that misperception is common in international politics, and doing what we can to mitigate this fact. Signals can be ambiguous; states often aren’t unitary rational actors; and situations evolve constantly. Finally, doing better means realizing that strategy is a dynamic process, and actions can have short- and long-term effects. In 1996, did anyone consider that by projecting force around China in such a humiliating manner that the United States would stimulate a huge Chinese military buildup, including A2/AD investments and an aircraft carrier program? Perhaps not, but that is the point. The Chinese are here to play the long game, and if Washington elites are going to make a habit of publishing articles calling on the United States to poke the dragon, then they should at least consider whether the dragon, in fact, needs to be poked and how the dragon might respond both today and a decade hence.
Jared McKinney is a nonresident fellow at the Pangoal Institution (Beijing) and a PhD Student at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).
Source: National Interest “Why America—and Its Political Leaders—Should Think Twice about Poking China”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
In my post “China Subdues Taiwan by Military Threat, Driving, Drawing Away Funds, Talents” on March 16, I said that China using stratagem to subdue Taiwan by stratagem without the need of fighting a war.
What stratagem? It is putting pressure on Taiwan economy by military threat that force Taiwan to spend more in weapons and scare away foreign investors and Taiwanese capital and talents while attracting Taiwan capital and talents with preferential policies.
To screw up the pressure, according to Reuters’ report titled “China says Taiwan tensions affecting some imports”, China greatly reduced import of cosmetics and food from Taiwan on the excuse of political tension that has affected cooperation on safety standards. The situation will not improve unless Taiwan “recognized the ‘1992 consensus’” i.e. one-China consensus.
As China is Taiwan’s major export market, China can further screw up pressure by reducing more import, which does not affect China and may give rise to great difficulties in Taiwan.
Now the US is going to help China in drying Taiwan’s financial resources by selling more weapons to Taiwan. (See my post “Trump administration crafting big new arms sales to Taiwan: sources” yesterday.)
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-parliament-taiwan-idUSKBN16L0G0
By David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick | WASHINGTON Fri Mar 17, 2017 | 3:58pm EDT
The Trump administration is crafting a big new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles to defend against China, U.S. officials said, a deal sure to anger Beijing.
The package is expected to be significantly larger than one that was shelved at the end of the Obama administration, the officials told Reuters on the eve of a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“The political desire is there to do a substantial sale,” one administration official said, adding that internal deliberations had begun on a deal “that’s much stronger, much more significant than the one that was not accepted by the Obama people.”
President Donald Trump’s administration is eager to proceed with the sales, but it is expected to take months and possibly into next year for the White House to overcome obstacles, including concern that Beijing’s sensitivities over Taiwan could make it harder to secure cooperation on priorities such as reining in North Korea, the official said.
Completion of a package also could be held up by the slow pace at which the Trump administration is filling national security jobs, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because initial work toward new arms sales has not been made public.
Discussions between Taiwan and the new administration already have begun, according to a person in Taipei familiar with the matter.
The White House declined comment.
Details of the administration’s approach to Taiwan emerged as Tillerson was due to visit China this weekend, where he will seek more Chinese support on North Korea and firm up a first meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping expected next month.
In December, President Barack Obama’s administration put the brakes on a Taiwan deal under discussion. That package was worth $1 billion, Washington’s Free Beacon newspaper reported this week, citing unnamed officials, who also were quoted as saying the Trump administration was now preparing new sales.
Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman under Obama, said the previous administration put a “relatively modest” arms package for Taiwan on hold, in part to let the new administration make the decision.
The Trump administration source told Reuters that the new deals under consideration would likely top the $1 billion mark.
The new administration plans to focus more than the previous one on enhancing Taiwan’s “asymmetric” capabilities, possibly with advanced multiple launch rocket systems, anti-ship missiles and other technologies that would enable Taiwan’s military to defend against a much larger Chinese force in the event of an attack, the U.S. official said.
Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) is the top U.S. manufacturer of multiple launch rocket systems. Other foreign companies involved in the sector include Germany’s Diehl and Britain’s BAE Systems (BAES.L).
A $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan that Obama announced in December 2015, to China’s dismay, included two Navy frigates in addition to anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.
The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China.” But successive administrations have continued providing billions of dollars in arms as part of a congressionally mandated requirement to ensure the island can defend itself.
Taiwan has already been a major point of contention between Trump and China, which considers the island a renegade province.
As president-elect, Trump broke with protocol and accepted a congratulatory phone call from the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in December, angering China. He then suggested he might abandon Washington’s “one China” policy, which accepts the self-ruled island as part of China. Once in office, Trump reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the decades-old policy.
The White House is mindful that tensions could flare again over new arms sales. But some Trump aides insist they are needed to make clear that the United States, Taiwan’s sole arms supplier, is committed to upgrading the island’s defenses.
(Additional reporting by J.R. Wu in Taipei and John Walcott in Washington; Editing by John Walcott and Tom Brown)
Source: Reuters “Trump administration crafting big new arms sales to Taiwan: sources”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Reuters’ report today “Exclusive: Taiwan says Chinese military threat grows, U.S. regional strategy unclear” describes Taiwan’s predicament under Chinese pressure. It quotes Taiwan’s 2017 Quadrennial Defense Review as saying, “The recent activity of Chinese jets and ships around Taiwan shows the continued rise in (China’s) military threat capabilities”.
The review stresses Taiwan’s need to defend itself. It is sad that according to Reuters, Taiwan is uncertain whether the US will indeed fight for it when China attacks it. Reuters says, “Among security challenges for Taiwan, the review also said ‘the United States’ Asia-Pacific strategic direction and troop deployment was not clear’ under the new administration of President Donald Trump.”
What shall Taiwan do then?
Buy more US weapons that are less advanced than China’s and spend more in developing its own advanced weapons. That will reduce Taiwan’s financial resources for improvement of its stagnant economy.
Taiwan will thus play into China’s hands.
China’s military activities around Taiwan scare not only Taiwanese people but also foreign investors that Taiwan is trying its best to attract. In addition, China’s preferential policies for Taiwanese capital and talents are drawing funds and talents away from Taiwan into China.
China is thus subduing Taiwan by stratagem without the need of fighting a war.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-taiwan-defence-exclusive-idUSKBN16M0CB.
Trump set to sell more arms
By Bill Gertz
March 14, 2017 5:00 am
The Obama administration blocked a $1 billion arms sale to Taiwan in December that was needed to improve the island’s defenses despite approval from the State Department and Pentagon, according to Trump administration officials.
The scuttling of the arms package was a set back for U.S. and Taiwanese efforts to bolster defenses against a growing array of Chinese missiles and other advanced weaponry deployed across the 100-mile Taiwan Strait.
The action coincided with a controversial pre-inaugural phone call Dec. 2 between then-President-elect Trump and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
It could not be learned if the arms package, which was ready to be announced publicly in December was derailed by the Obama administration because of the phone call.
The new Trump administration is now preparing to provide more and better defensive arms to Taiwan, said administration officials familiar with internal discussions of the arms sale.
The new arms package, however, is not expected to be made public until after Trump meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping next month. White House officials said the meeting is set for early April at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in South Florida.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also will visit China later this month.
Taiwan is expected to be a major topic of discussion for both the summit and Tillerson’s visit.
“There’s a process for these things that’s being followed,” a White House official said of the arms package. “The Trump administration takes America’s commitment to Taiwan’s security very seriously.”
Other officials said the arms package was set for release to Taiwan and formal notification to Congress in December. But National Security Council staff officials blocked it, setting back the process of supporting Taiwan with defensive arms considerably.
The approximately $1 billion included parts and equipment needed for the Taiwan military’s ongoing modernization of its arsenal of 1980s-era F-16 jet fighters along with additional missiles.
The approved package was held up by Avril D. Haines, the Obama White House deputy national security adviser. Haines did not return an email seeking comment.
Former Obama administration spokesman Ned Price confirmed that the administration held up the arms package. He told the Washington Free Beacon that neither Haines nor others in the Obama White House “unilaterally blocked the package that was under discussions, which was relatively modest.”
“In consultation with State and DoD, the Obama administration decided not to move forward with it in the final days of the administration,” Price said, adding that one factor was that “we thought it would be a useful package for the next administration to pursue in their time because it was well-calibrated to strike the balance we typically try to achieve consistent with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act.”
One administration official said the package also included communications, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance gear that would bolster the Taiwan military’s command and control systems.
This official said one positive aspect of the failure to send the latest arms is that pro-China officials in the U.S. government who oppose helping Taiwan will no longer be able to argue internally that the United States had fulfilled its obligations under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act with the package. The act requires the United States to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons.
“Now we can start from scratch with a truly useful arms package once the assistant secretaries are in place,” the official said, referring to working-level political appointees at the Pentagon and State Department.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner had no immediate comment.
Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross said he does not discuss “pre-decisional matters.”
“The objective of our defense engagement with Taiwan is to ensure that Taiwan remains secure, confident, free from coercion and able to engage in a peaceful, productive dialogue to resolve differences in a manner acceptable to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” Ross said, noting U.S. arms sales support that goal.
“We strongly believe that our policy has contributed to stability in the Taiwan Strait by providing Taipei with the confidence needed to pursue constructive interactions with Beijing.”
The official Taiwan government office in Washington had no comment on the arms package.
Taiwan officials are looking forward to working closely with the Trump administration in upgrading defenses. The Taiwanese are considering the development of indigenous fighter aircraft and submarines and are hoping the United States can provide technology for the arms.
Former State Department official John Tkacik said the failure to release the arms package in December was a mistake.
“It is truly alarming that the White House, in its last month, would ignore a defense transfer recommendation endorsed by both the State and Defense Departments, especially after the incoming president had already signaled his support of a strengthened security relationship with Taiwan,” Tkacik said.
Tkacik said it is likely that Obama administration officials in charge of Asia policy, after eight years of giving the Chinese free rein in Asia, were unhappy with Trump’s tough posture toward Beijing.
“If the new National Security Council can’t move forward afresh with strengthened defense supplies to Taiwan, given State and Pentagon recommendations to do it, I’m afraid the new administration will lose its momentum, like Obama’s people did, and simply resign itself to letting Beijing take over in Asia,” he assed.
Randall Schriver, a former assistant secretary of state and assistant secretary of defense, said the Trump administration should increase arms transfers to Taiwan.
“China’s growing capabilities combined with an intent to put greater pressure on Taiwan should compel us take a serious look at increasing our security assistance to Taiwan including support for its indigenous submarine program and making available a [vertical, short-take off and landing] fighter aircraft,” he said.
Rick Fisher, an expert on Asian military affairs, also voiced concern.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Obama administration would not release this final arms sales package before leaving office, but at a deeper level, that it did not exercise the leadership to accelerate this F-16 upgrade package first approved in 2011,” said Fisher, senior fellow at International Assessment and Strategy Center.
The delay in upgrading the jets means China has gained six years on deploying advanced fighters jets and next generation short and medium range ballistic missiles that threaten Taiwan.
Fisher warned that China is preparing for a possible invasion of Taiwan in early 2020 and the Trump administration should provide new military capabilities for the island to help deter any Chinese attack.
“We are really up against the wall; if we cannot devise the right package of fifth generation capabilities, be it new F-35 fighters, submarine technologies, new, cheap, long range anti-ship cruise missiles and energy weapons, then we will face the threat of Chinese invasion of Taiwan perhaps as soon as the early 2020s,” Fisher said.
Taiwan in January began upgrading its force of 144 F-16s. The jets will be outfitted with active electronically scanned array fire-control radar that analysts say can detect radar-evading stealth aircraft.
New avionics equipment also is being added along with advanced AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
The last arms package for Taiwan was announced in December 2015 and was worth $1.83 billion. It included two Perry-class Frigates, Javelin anti-tank missiles, TOW anti-tank missiles, and amphibious assault vehicles. Command and control hardware, F-16 gear, Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems and Stinger surface-to-air missiles were also part of that package.
In December, China’s military conducted a show of force with a squadron of jet fighters and a bomber that circled Taiwan Dec. 10.
U.S. EP-3 and RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft shadowed the Chinese jets during the incident, along with a long-range RQ-4 Global Hawk drone aircraft.
The Chinese saber rattling against Taiwan coincided with Trump’s phone call with Tsai.
China also protested a provision of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill that was signed into law in December. The new law contains language calling on the Pentagon to conduct a program of senior military exchanges with Taiwan.
Current policy has limited military exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officers despite a requirement under the Taiwan Relations Act for the United States to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
The phone call between Trump and Tsai in December was the first time an American president had spoken directly to Taiwan’s president in decades and prompted protests from Beijing, which views Taiwan as a break away province.
The United States does not accept China’s interpretation of the so-called One-China policy and regards the Beijing-Taipei dispute over Taiwan’s status as unresolved.
“Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” Trump tweeted Dec. 2.
Trump has taken a hard line against China, mainly over unfair trade and currency practices. After the Dec. 2 call, he also suggested the United States might abandon the One China policy and adopt more favorable Taiwan policies.
However, Trump later reiterated U.S. support for the American interpretation of the One China Policy.
Source: Washington Free Beacon “Obama White House Blocked Needed U.S. Arms Sale to Taiwan”
Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Japan Times says in its report “ASDF scrambles jets as China sends more fighters, bombers through Miyako Strait as part of large drill” that on March 2 China sent 13 warplanes, the largest number ever, across Miyako Strait to conduct a military drill with Chinese navy in Western Pacific.
It quotes China’s official Xinhua News Agency as saying, the “exercise is part of annual plans for the navy, is not aimed at a specific country or target, and accords with relevant international laws and norms.”
However, the drill was conducted when US aircraft carrier entered the South China Sea perhaps with the aim to block China’s access to its artificial islands.
The drill told the US that China not only can deal with US navy in the South China Sea, but is able to send air force and navy to deal with Japan and Taiwan in Western Pacific. If the US attacks China in the South China Sea, it has to be prepared with a large-scale war involving Japan and Taiwan as China has enough fire power to deal with US navy in the South China Sea and can, in addition, send its air force and navy to deal with Japan and Taiwan. The war will give China the opportunity to resolve its disputes with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands and take back Taiwan by force.
China has lots of land-based ballistic and cruise missiles and warplanes for the war. Its geographical advantages are so overwhelming that US simply has no chance to win a war near it.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Japan Times’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/03/national/china-sends-planes-miyako-strait-large-scale-drill/#.WL35SOS7r6o
China will resolutely oppose and contain Taiwan independence, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Sunday, amid heightened tension between Beijing and the self-ruled island.
China is deeply suspicious of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party espouses the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing, which has cut off an official dialogue mechanism with Taipei.
Tsai says she wants peace with China.
“We will never tolerate any activity, in any form or name, which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland,” Li said in a report available before he delivered an annual address to China’s top legislature.
China will protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity while safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Li said.
Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists. China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, viewing it as a wayward province.
In 2014, hundreds of students occupied Taiwan’s parliament for weeks in protests known as the Sunflower Movement, demanding more transparency and fearful of China’s growing economic and political influence on the democratic island.
Chinese jets and warships carried out exercises near Taiwan and into the Western Pacific on Thursday, as Taiwan’s defense minister warned of a growing threat from its giant neighbor.
Li also said the notion of Hong Kong independence would lead nowhere, and Beijing would ensure that the principle of “one country, two systems” is applied in Hong Kong and Macao “without being bent or distorted”.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula, granting it extensive autonomy, an independent judiciary and rule of law for at least 50 years.
Hong Kong students organized weeks of protests in late 2014 to push for full democracy, but Beijing declined to make concessions. Chinese leaders are increasingly concerned about a fledgling independence movement in Hong Kong.
Also In World News
Over 40,000 displaced from Mosul in a week as Iraqi forces near old city
Japan PM Abe: North Korea launched four ballistic missiles
China’s parliament last year staged a rare interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, to effectively bar pro-independence city lawmakers from taking office there.
Communist Party rulers in Beijing have ultimate control over Hong Kong, and some Hong Kong people are concerned they are increasingly interfering to head off dissent.
(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Source: Reuters “Premier Li says China will resolutely oppose Taiwan independence”
Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.