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US clarity on Taiwan question positive sign: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-07-08 19:31
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It is no secret that Beijing considers the Taiwan question a core interest and realizing China's complete reunification a historic mission.

That has prompted the China hawks in the United States to identify the island as China's raw nerve and to take advantage of it to provoke Beijing.

But while some outsiders interpret Beijing's words as rhetoric of "intimidation", it would be more sensible to read it as reiteration of the mainland's consistent bottom line — that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China and will never be allowed to be split from the motherland.

There is nothing more detrimental to the relations between the world's two largest economies than for Washington to try and push at that bottom line, even if it is careful not to break it.

The frequent petty tricks on Taiwan by the previous US administration have inflicted a lot of damage on the China-US relationship and added an extra layer of animosity to the troubled relations.

Despite US President Joe Biden's repeated claim that his administration seeks to cooperate with China wherever possible, constant envelope-pushing moves by the US Congress and his administration's seeming reluctance to match words with deeds have effectively rendered any meaningful, constructive engagement impossible.

Indeed, how can Beijing justify reaching out to Washington while the latter continues to provoke it on one of its most important bottom lines?

It is natural for Beijing to take Washington's stated willingness to work together with a grain of salt, because to Beijing playing the "Taiwan card" certainly doesn't qualify as sincerity.

White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell's Tuesday statement on not supporting "Taiwan independence" has seen positive resonance from Beijing because it came as a crucial clarification needed for stabilizing the recently wayward relationship.

Campbell talked a lot about China and the bilateral relationship at the Asia Society sponsored event, much of which was less than pleasant to Beijing's ears. Still, his assertion that the present US government doesn't support "Taiwan independence" — the first time the Biden administration has clarified its stance on Taiwan — relieves Beijing of an acute concern, and potentially removes a key obstacle to meaningful communication between the two sides.

That, along with his claimed belief that China and the US can coexist peacefully, surely are positive messages that should on the one hand resolve a key mainland concern, and on the other hand wake up those in Taiwan counting on US support to maintain their pipe dream.

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