Language : English 简体 繁體
Foreign Policy

Beautiful Words, Dangerous Actions

Aug 23, 2021
  • Wu Zurong

    Research Fellow, China Foundation for Int'l Studies

On July 27, 2021, United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in Singapore that “the U.S. does not seek military conflict with Beijing.” He made even more beautiful remarks when he said: “Let me be clear … I am committed to pursuing a constructive, stable relationship with China.” Nevertheless, he added, “We will not flinch when our interests are threatened. Yet we do not seek confrontation.”

Over the past few months, President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have made similar public statements, but the credibility of the U.S. is so poor that few might believe such statements are sincere. Beautiful public remarks are made for the U.S. image in the world, while dangerous actions conducted by the U.S. related to Taiwan and the South China Sea tell the truth, contradicting the nice words.

First, the U.S. has been accustomed to pushing its domestic law concepts on China, putting these above bilateral documents and international law. For example, the U.S. has created laws and issued executive orders related to the Taiwan question that distort the “one China” principle. In fact, it has been pursuing a policy that is pushing the two countries closer and closer to military conflict, as the U.S. version of one China has been drifting ever further from what was mutually agreed upon in three Sino-U.S. joint communiques. It is dangerous for the U.S. to continue taking China’s goodwill and tolerance as a chance to maximize its strategic interests.

The U.S. should immediately stop its hegemonic unilateral practice that push U.S. domestic notions of law on China when dealing with Taiwan issues. It should truly observe the principles laid down in the three communiques. The Taiwan Relations Act, and Six Assurances, which go against the one-China principle as defined in the three communiques, have long been opposed by China, and they are null and void in the case of Taiwan. The new guidelines issued by the Biden administration in April 2021, liberalizing guidance on contacts with Taiwan, is another serious deviation from the true one-China principle.

It is ridiculous for the U.S. to say that its interactions and engagement with Taiwan “reflect our deepening unofficial relationship.” Such grossly deceptive games should stop at once to prevent people from believing that all U.S. government actions are unofficial. 

Second, upgrading official and military exchanges with Taiwan has come to the brink of a precipice. U.S. cabinet members have been to Taipei, planes emblazoned with the glaring words “U.S. Air Force” have landed in Taiwan more than once, arms sales to Taiwan have included offensive weapons with, and U.S. personnel in Taiwan have conducted exercises and training. The U.S. Coast Guard is now regularly engaged in covert discussions and operations with its counterpart in Taiwan in accordance with a memorandum of cooperation signed last March. With Tsai Ing-wen, leader of China’s Taiwan region, involved in such U.S. schemes as the democracy summit this autumn, for example, one might expect, with no exaggeration, that if the U.S. continues to move down this erroneous road, another a serious crisis in the Sino-U.S. relations might be triggered anytime. 

Third, U.S. military operations in areas near China could backfire. Under the slogan of free navigation and overflight, the U.S. military has been intensifying its activities in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. Reconnaissance operations averaging five or six a day have never stopped. Hydrologic survey operations have been added. The number of U.S. Naval ships encroaching on China’s territorial waters is increasing, and the wrong signals have been sent to pro-independence forces in Taiwan. The U.S. has increasingly become a saboteur of peace and stability in the region.

Fourth, agitation in the areas of human rights, ideology and an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic will produce no good results. These are harmful to the two countries and to the whole world. The U.S. should truly change its confrontational approach and return to dialogue, which has proved helpful in the past. U.S. reliance on big lies and distortions of facts to demonize China will always harm itself. China’s progress in human rights and democracy, as well as its contribution to the global suppression of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be denied.

Fifth, malignant U.S. actions against China can never achieve any desired results. They only reveal the true intentions of America’s China policy. The U.S. military has conducted military exercises near China to stir up trouble, together with Japan, Australia and a few NATO members, such as Britain and France. U.S. diplomats have been inciting Lithuania, a small country in Europe to challenge the one-China principle. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken even met with the representative of the Dalai Lama in India during his visit there in a vain attempt to foment trouble in Tibet. How can the U.S. explain its true intentions toward 1.4 billion Chinese people?

Sixth, selfish U.S.  trade policy has resulted in serious consequences globally. Take the U.S. blockade of semiconductor chips for example. U.S. hegemonic actions have broken global industrial supply chains, and they are now undergoing a painful process of restructuring. As a result, the shortage of chips in automobile manufacturing is so acute that prices of chips are going up and quite a number of manufacturers in different countries (including the U.S.) have been forced to reduce production. It is well-known that high tariffs unilaterally imposed on China’s exports to the U.S. have cost U.S. consumers and become a factor in U.S. inflation.

Facts have proved that when the U.S. has tried to hurt China, it has hurt itself and other parts of the world. It is high time for the U.S. to change course and return to the normal practice of seeking common ground while reserving differences, so that the two countries can truly initiate and expand cooperation for the welfare of the two peoples and the whole world. 

You might also like
Back to Top