No bending bottom line on Taiwan: China Daily editorial

2021-02-05 12:08:09

[Photo/Agencies] For China and the United States to reset and redirect their relations onto a more stable and healthy terrain, the Taiwan question, which is at the heart of bilateral ties, needs special sensitivity as any mishandling or miscalculation will undermine cross-Straits peace and stability. Hence, by stating during a regular briefing on Wednesday, that the new US administration under Joe Biden supports the one-China policy, US State Department spokesman Ned Price indicated the new administration has taken a sensible step toward building trust with Beijing. The clarification has helped dispel some of the concerns that arose after the Biden administration issued a statement on Jan 23 expressing strong support for the island without mentioning the long-held US policy that is the foundation for diplomatic relations between the US and China. Yet judging by the rhetoric of the US State Department on Tuesday urging Beijing to cease the military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan, it seems the new US administration is far from ready to reflect on the Taiwan question objectively. Nor does it seem ready to cease the provocations of the previous administration, since USS John S. McCain sailed through the Taiwan Straits on Thursday, the first such passage since the inauguration of Joe Biden as president. The previous US administration under Donald Trump, viewing Taiwan as a card to be played in its confrontation with Beijing, engaged in a number of military and political machinations that risked emboldening the secessionists on the island to the extreme of folly. It not only frequently sent warships and aircraft carriers to pass through the Taiwan Straits, but also raised the profile of formal exchanges with Taiwan. In the latest example of how far separatist forces in Taiwan are going as a consequence of the encouragement offered by the US, pro-independence lawmakers on the island on Monday repeated their calls to change the "emblem and flag" and revise the island's "constitution" to remove references to unification with the Chinese mainland. The so-called pressure Taiwan feels from the mainland all stems from the attempts by the island's separatist forces to advance their pro-independence agenda on the island and on the international stage. They and Washington should understand Beijing will never permit its bottom line to be crossed. Any attempt to challenge China's red line on the Taiwan question, as the previous administration threatened to do, will not only take a heavy toll on China-US relations but also ratchet up tensions in the Taiwan Straits to a dangerous degree.