Learning from China's Record

At the annual National Day ceremony on October 10, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen pledged to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait, called on Beijing to not resort to war to achieve its goal of “reunification with Taiwan,” and reiterated the Taiwanese people’s unwavering stance on defending its democracy.

Tsai’s matter-of-fact statements seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

In Beijing, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council accused the Tsai’s administration of “kidnapping Taiwan’s public opinion” and “inciting confrontation” by “seeking secession.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson warned at a press briefing that China “will never leave any room for Taiwan secessionist activities.”

Beijing’s reactions to Tsai’s National Day’s speech came as no surprise. China has long laid out a path for Taiwan’s future -- namely, a “reunification with China,” regardless of the will of Taiwan’s 23 million people, who by a large margin identify themselves as Taiwanese, not Chinese.

For China, seizing Taiwan is the ultimate goal. If the planned reunification can be done peacefully, it’s merely the icing on the cake. And a war with a appropriately timed could be even better, because a nationalistic zeal ignited by a war against Taiwan would make the people in China forget their misery and resentment against the cruelties inflicted upon them by the Chinese government.

Beijing’s Taiwan approach, i.e. peace as bait and force in the making, is consistent with the behavioral pattern of the Chinese Communist Party. Throughout its history, the CCP has never been a peace-loving organization, and the People’s Republic of China under the CCP has never stopped stirring up conflicts with neighboring countries.

Before rising to power in 1949, the CCP twice (1924-1927, and 1937-1945) made peace with the ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) in the form of collaboration. In both initiatives, the CCP’s objectives were to utilize the KMT’s resources to nourish its own political organization and armed forces, which were in their infancy. And both peace pacts ended ugly when the CCP and its armed forces grew strong enough to undermine and sabotage KMT’s implementation of its blueprint for the nation. The second breakup led directly to the three-year Civil War and the subsequent ouster of the KMT from the mainland.

The CCP has continued practicing the same old “bait-exploitation” trick to this day.

The Soviet Union, which nurtured the CCP and was the sole patron during the first decade of the PRC’s existence, was the first to be bitten by its vicious little brother, who had grown strong enough to claim for the leadership of the world communism revolution after the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s.

The United States, which led the capitalist world in pulling China out of the economic ruin left by Mao Zedong and helped China grow into the world second largest economy, became the latest victim of Communist China’s time-tested exploitative practice. It turned out that the CCP has always regarded the U.S. as its biggest enemy, even during the U.S.-Sino’s “honeymoon” years in the 1980s-1990s.

In all three relationships, the CCP-PRC followed a clear agenda to exploit the goodwill of the unsuspected hosts, while waiting for the opportune moment to expel the rightful owner and take over the assets.

In between the Soviet-Sino and U.S.-Sino fallouts, the CCP-PRC managed to engage in numerous territorial clashes and carried out two large-scale invasions (of India in 1962 and of Vietnam in 1979). The pretexts were very similar to what Putin uses today for his “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.

When it comes to China’s “reunification with Taiwan” scheme, the “peaceful approach” is nothing but an implementation of the deceptive “hide capacities and bide time” strategy, which was designed by former supreme leader Deng Xiaoping to buy time for China in order to accumulate strength for the ultimate goal of dominating the world order. It is thus perceivable that once the CCP-PRC feels strong enough to take Taiwan at will, it would ditch the “peace” disguise and resort to military force without waiting any longer. It is the same script that the CCP-PRC has followed since its first day in existence.

This assessment is confirmed by President Xi Jinping’s opening speech at the CCP’s 20th Congress on this month. “We will never promise to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary.” Xi said. “The complete reunification of our country must be realized and it can without a doubt be realized.”

China is impatiently waiting for the time of taking Taiwan by force to arrive.

Given the track record of the CCP-PRC’s domestic and international dealings, that President Tsai’s call for peace would generate a resonance among the CCP’s leaders in Beijing this time around is just as likely as seeing snowfall on a tropical beach.

China submits only to steel resolve and swift actions. Kindness, generosity, and reasoning are interpreted as weakness and vulnerability. They invite nothing but exploitation and aggression.

President Tsai’s goodwill call is unlikely to receive a reciprocal response from Beijing. Given China’s historical pattern of domestic and international dealings, Taiwan’s peace call might invite more aggressive reactions from China. History has shown that Beijing only understands and respects strength and forceful actions. For Taiwan, peace with China cannot be obtained through wishful thinking only, but must be backed by the ability to deliver decisive strikes whenever necessary.

Image: Garoth Ursuul

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