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US should stop interfering in8k8 link Taiwan question

陈奕迅演唱会抢票 | 8k8 link | Updated: 2024-07-13 09:06:02

The Taipei 101 skyscraper commands the urban landscape in Taipei, Taiwan. [Photo/Xinhua]

During a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the US' policy toward Taiwan, a senior US State Department official in charge of Sino-US relations trumpeted the role of the "Taiwan Relations Act" while detailing the "achievements" of the relationship between the US and Taiwan island during the Joe Biden administration, including the "official exchanges" between the US administration and Taiwan authorities, US arms sale to Taiwan, Washington-Taipei "military ties", and the US' efforts to help Taiwan expand its so-called international space.

According to the US Congress's Rules of Procedure, government officials must "speak the truth" at Congress hearings, or face "contempt of Congress" charges. Assuming, therefore, that the State Department official spoke the truth, it is worth analyzing what he said, especially because his statements highlight the US' wrongdoings which have seriously violated not only the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiques, but also international law and basic norms of international relations. And all the US' actions have been aimed at undermining China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The US official's testimony can also be seen as a "confession" of US interference in the Taiwan question, which is purely an internal affair of China. The official claimed that the relationship between the United States and Taiwan "is stronger than ever" because the "Taiwan Relations Act" has "given us (the) tools that we need to pursue our overall objective of maintaining peace and stability".

The fact is, the so-called Taiwan Relations Act was hastily concocted by pro-Taiwan and anti-Beijing US lawmakers soon after the establishment of Sino-US diplomatic relations in 1979 — the act was drafted, deliberated and passed in a record 41 days. And right from the very beginning, Beijing has been opposing the act, saying it is illegal and invalid.

In particular, the act is aimed at hollowing out the one-China principle that the US government had just days ago promised to abide by in the Shanghai Communique and the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and the US.

On April 19, 1979, when late leader Deng Xiaoping met with the first US congressional delegation to Beijing after the establishment of Sino-US diplomatic ties, he emphasized that Beijing was not happy with the US Congress for passing the "Taiwan Relations Act". The fundamental problem with the act is that it does not recognize that there is only one China.

The US, however, implemented the "Taiwan Relations Act" using the excuse of "separation of powers" embedded in its political system, thus over-riding international law and the basic norms of international relations.

The US government made a commitment in the August 17 Communique (one of three Sino-US joint communiques) that it "does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China", and that it intends to gradually "reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution".

More than 40 years later, the US has not only failed to honor its promise to stop selling arms to Taiwan, and that too in larger volumes and higher value (cumulatively worth $70 billion). Worse, the US has been selling not only defensive weapons and equipment to the Chinese island but also advanced and sophisticated weapons including F-16 fighter jets, Abrams main battle tanks, land-based Harpoon launchers and MQ-9 reapers.

The State Department official also admitted that the Biden administration has notified Congress of more than $6.2 billion worth of arms sales to Taiwan. Breaking its own promises, saying one thing while doing the exact opposite, and instead of feeling ashamed, projecting it as a big achievement is not how a superpower should behave. The US official's testimony makes it clear that the US is out to challenge the postwar world order and expand Taiwan's "international space".

The Cairo Declaration of 1943 and the Potsdam Declaration of 1945 clearly stipulate that the island of Taiwan is part of China that was occupied by Japan. Furthermore, UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 in 1971 resolved once and for all the questions relating to representation of China, Taiwan province included, in the UN.

But the US has turned a blind eye to these cold facts and, instead, has been trying to facilitate Taiwan's "meaningful participation in international organizations and multilateral forums", which is a blatant violation of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758.

The US has also deliberately blurred the boundaries of the "unofficial relations" between the US and Taiwan, thus shaking the political foundation of the Sino-US relationship. In the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and the US, the US recognizes that the government of the PRC is the sole legal government of China, and the people of the US will maintain cultural, commercial and other unofficial relations with Taiwan residents within this context.

In January 2021, the US State Department lifted the restrictions on US-Taiwan interactions, which forbid representatives of the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office" from entering State Department facilities, and prohibited the raising of Taiwan "flag" at Twin Oaks (property of "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office") and on US government property.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington based on three China-US joint communiques. Although the landmark occasion has not been commemorated by US Congress, Congress has held multiple commemorative events to mark the 45th anniversary of the passing of the "Taiwan Relations Act". This indicates separatist forces on Taiwan island are being encouraged by the US to intensify their anti-mainland and anti-reunification activities.

Forty-five years ago, the key to establishing Sino-US diplomatic ties was the proper handling of the Taiwan question by both sides, and the US government's explicit recognition that "the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government of China" and that "there is only one China, and that Taiwan is a part of China". Forty-five years later, the importance of the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques remains unchanged, so has the importance of the Taiwan question as the first redline in Sino-US relations that should not be crossed.

The author is an international affairs observer. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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