Tsai Ing-wen began her second term on May 20. Her inaugural speech regarding cross-Straits relations played the same old tune. On the one hand, she repeated words such as “peace,” while on the other, she intends to lead Taiwan further tilted to the US to confront the mainland amid mounting tensions between China and the US. The situation in the Taiwan Straits is hardly optimistic.
The authorities of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have strategically miscalculated. They believe the US view of China as its main strategic competitor helps them seek Taiwan secession.
While they act as a pawn of the US, they want to use the support of the US to achieve a complete decoupling with the mainland and be included in the US security alliance like a NATO member.
They are unwilling to face the fact that the one-China principle is one of the important cornerstones of the world order, and that even the US dare not openly deny it, but arrogantly think that Taiwan could seek secession with its tiny strength.
Their strategic space is pretty small. They are maneuvering in a small pond in the cracks of China-US relations, but mistakenly take it as a big river or sea. The Tsai authorities should have a clear estimation of themselves.
The DPP’s narrative of the superiority of “Taiwan democracy” deceives the people of the island. They should not get into it too deeply to believe they can do whatever they want against the mainland.
We want to pour buckets of cold water on Tsai to help her stay sober.
First, the Tsai authorities have no strength to break the global political structure in which there is only one China.
The US has also no real interest in undermining the one-China pattern. What Washington wants is to create trouble for Beijing by making an issue of the one-China principle and using it as leverage against Beijing.
Second, Taiwan island is playing a very dangerous game as a US pawn to contain China. The island needs to tread a fine line.
In the game in which two elephants – China and the US – fight, Taiwan is not a tiger or a hyena, but an ant. It needs to act very cautiously, rather than being provocative.
Third, the US is ratcheting up pressure on China, but the gap of military strength between the two in the Taiwan Straits is going the other way. The DPP authorities need to study the Anti-Secession Law carefully. They’d better study the law together and invite mailand scholars to give them a lecture. The US will be unable to prevent the mainland if the latter decides to respond to Taiwan’s provocative actions with military means.
The most important thing for the DPP authorities is that they should focus on the internal affairs of the island. They don’t have ability to alter the political and military pattern in the Taiwan Straits, nor will they be able to control the situation after they start trouble and trigger a chain reaction. The Tsai authorities should act prudently.