Photo by John Kirby: AFP
Both at the November 14 meeting between the heads of state of China and the US on the sidelines of the G20 summit and at talks between the defense chiefs of the two countries on Tuesday, China made clear its red line on the Taiwan issue. . And the American side repeated its commitments. If the White House wants to make its “rules-based order” narrative seem credible, the Taiwan issue is the touchstone.On Tuesday, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe stressed that the Taiwan issue is the core of China’s core interests and the first insurmountable red line in China-US relations, during his meetings with Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin.
However, according to TASS, on Tuesday local time, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that, without speculating on who the next Speaker of the House is, the President and other members of Congress have the right to travel abroad, including the island of Taiwan, adding that legislators are a separate branch of government, so their choice will not be interfered with by the executive branch.
Kirby obviously tried to twist the question. This is not about separation of power in the US political system. It is about understanding and complying with the rule: unofficial US relations with the island of Taiwan must remain unofficial.
Unofficial ties mean that the US and the island of Taiwan can only maintain their communications and interactions on economic, cultural and people-to-people exchange levels. A visit by a high-ranking political or military official would signal a breach of US commitment and trampling on principles agreed upon by Washington, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.
After Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to the island of Taiwan in August, Kirby used the same term to downplay the provocation. He said that it is common for the speaker to travel abroad. Washington might think that the term “travel abroad” makes the US, the one really causing trouble, a passive side with Bambi-eyed innocence. But if a US Speaker of the House goes to Taiwan, that is an act that crosses boundaries and breaks commitments.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who could be the next Speaker of the House, said in July that he would visit the island of Taiwan if he became Speaker of the House after the midterm elections. Was Kirby paving the way for future US plans that would cross the line? It is to be observed. But Washington must bear this in mind, if it wants to successfully sell its “rules-based order” rhetoric, it had better respect it first on the Taiwan issue.
History has proved that the US is not a country that plays by the rules, and so-called rules in the eyes of Washington can be broken without hesitation for its own geopolitical interest, Yang Xiyu, a senior researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, told Global Times. McCarthy’s comments about his potential visit to Taiwan even before he becomes Speaker of the House show that geopolitical interests, even the self-interest of US politicians, are above rules and laws, Yang added.
Analysts say the US is used to drawing lines to other countries in an attempt to safeguard its hegemonic interests. But China has been more proactively drawing its line of sovereign interests. As Chinese President Xi Jinping said, the Taiwan issue is at the core of China’s core interests, the basis of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations.
In the process, as China grows stronger and even becomes another superpower, it has made the US anxious, making American politicians increasingly impatient to launch strategic competition with China, Yang noted.
Regardless of the possibility of a McCarthy visit to the island of Taiwan, China’s priority is doing its own jobs well. It must continue to build national strength so that the US learns to think twice before crossing China’s lines. And China must keep its own pace in dealing with the Taiwan issue. In this great power game, while the US fights its way, China can also fight its way.