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Reunification just a matter of how, when

By Adrian Ho | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-08-15 09:19
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Photo taken on July 21, 2019 shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, China's Taiwan. [Photo/Xinhua]

The provocative stunt of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, plus the covert and overt support for "Taiwan independence "forces, can only expose the US' double-handed political tricks in breaking international law and norms. However, it cannot stop the Chinese will for reunification of the island with the mainland.

China's reunification has never been a yes or no decision, but rather a choice about course and timing.

Though Pelosi's visit to Taiwan was not the first time a House speaker visited the island, it was by far the severest breaking of US agreements to China, which justifies China's strong responses with live military drills.

When then House speaker Newt Gingrich likewise went to Taiwan 25 years ago, he went to Beijing first and China tolerated Gingrich's visit, even dismissing it as a one-time occurrence with little historical significance.

This time, China voiced its opposition from the very beginning, and China is right to regard Pelosi's visit as "a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques" that "seriously infringes on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", as the Foreign Ministry put it.

Pelosi's justifications for why she considered that setting foot on the island was a sensible decision are formulaic. She intends to demonstrate to US President Joe Biden that Congress can exert its own foreign policy authority without depending on the White House, while simultaneously avoiding appearing pliable on China. Her claim of support to Taiwan as a regional ally goes against international norms. None of these factors is compelling enough to legitimize burgeoning Taiwan Straits tensions. Pelosi was unnecessarily provocative.

When the US Congress introduced the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979, it reflected congressional opposition to then US president Jimmy Carter's intention to establish relations with China and sever connections with authorities in Taiwan. But the "one-China" policy was maintained for more than four decades, contributing to global stability, until Pelosi's visit implicitly challenged it. A subdued form of brinkmanship was demonstrated by Biden's response to Pelosi's visit.

For decades, the one-China policy has been a significant and respected national policy that is acknowledged by the majority of countries around the world.

Pelosi's visit has intensified the US-China relationship. The US has its own domestic challenges to resolve, so provocation of China is a deliberate attempt to add fuel to the fire, endangering global stability.

China has stood firm on the one-China principle and will not make any compromise or concession on it. In 1971, the US affirmed to China the new principles that it would follow with regard to the Taiwan question. They include that the US would acknowledge that there is only one China, and Taiwan is a part of China, and that the US would not support movements for "Taiwan independence". When then president Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, he reaffirmed those principles to Premier Zhou Enlai, and hence came about the Shanghai Communique, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news conference on Aug 3.

The entire world is cognizant of which country is violating its own agreements, causing commotion and acting unilaterally to alter the status quo of international peace. According to international law, China is fully entitled to utilize all means required to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China's objective of establishing national reunification between its Taiwan island and the Chinese mainland will not be thwarted under any circumstances. If provocative actions like Pelosi's visit to the island to challenge China's tolerance continue, Washington will soon realize how abysmally its attempts will backfire.

The author is founder of Save HK and a member of the Central Committee of the New People's Party of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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