China is wise to follow Deng Xiaoping’s instruction on giving priority to economic development. When it has attained the goal of building China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century, there will be no problems of US containment, even less Taiwan independence.
The US lays its hope to make China unable to attain its ambitious goal mainly on:
1. China’s domestic disturbance caused mainly by dissents for Western democracy, press freedom, human rights, etc.
China counters that with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on a New Year to infuse self-confidence in China’s path, system, theory and culture.
It regards Western, especially American efforts to spread Western democracy and values such as press freedom and human rights as measures to subvert Chinese government. It, therefore, adopts harsh measures to suppress dissents. 709 crackdown was a typical example.
2. Riots for independence in Tibet, Xinjiang, etc., especially the Islamic terrorist attacks that may give rise to panic throughout China.
That is why the US media supports Uygur separatists and describes Uygur terrorist attacks as something caused by Uygurs’ opposition to Chinese government’s restriction to their religious freedom.
Taiwan independence may trigger such Chinese ethnic minority’s riots so that China absolutely disallows that. The situation now is that Taiwanese government is entirely unable to openly advocate independence due to lack of US support. If China takes Taiwan by force, the US may be involved but the US does not have any vital interests in Taiwan to justify a war for Taiwan against China.
Though China is now strong enough to take Taiwan by force and though it is not likely that the US will fight a war with China for Taiwan, Chinese leaders shall be wise not to choose a military solution to the Taiwan issue as wise economic approaches are quite sufficient.
In addition, economic approaches work well due to the stupidity of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Chinese air force has carried out lots of patrols around Taiwan to give the false impression that China is making preparations for taking Taiwan by force. According to Reuters’ report yesterday titled “Taiwan president warns China against military aggression”, Tsai believes that China is going to take Taiwan by force so that she warns China against military aggression.
What she says on the military tension precisely plays into China’s hands. She makes Taiwanese and foreign businessmen scared so that they dare not invest in Taiwan. Without injection of investments how can she reinvigorate Taiwan’s sagging economy?
Moreover, she is stupid to increase Taiwan’s purchases of weapons for possible resistance against Chinese troops. She simply lacks the common sense that Taiwan cannot afford an arms race with China. She is depriving Taiwan of its limited financial resources for improvement of its economy.
As a result she will be replaced by a pro-Beijing president. When that has happened, China will resume its preferential treatment to win over Taiwan. That is China’s carrot and stick approach. It will be much better than a military approach.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-taiwan-president/taiwan-president-warns-china-against-military-aggression-idUSKBN1EN0JU.