Asian Century Journal

An Asian Century Philippines Publication

US Strategic Ambiguity Over the Taiwan Issues Is One Huge Thorn in China-US Relations

By: Prof. Anna Malindog-Uy

I was interviewed on Thursday (04 August 2022) by a foreign media network on the issues surrounding the Taiwan Strait, the Reckless visit of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of US House of Representatives, and the intricacies of the Taiwan issue vis-à-vis China-US Relations. I am sharing the transcript of the said interview and my perspective on these issues.

 
  1. On the Taiwan question, many experts agree that the status quo is the best for all sides. But Nancy Pelosi insists on making the visit to Taiwan. This would violate the stipulations in the three China-U.S. joint communiques. Why do you think Pelosi chose to make this provocative move?

My Response: The rising tension between the US and China due to US HOR Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan despite China’s expressed opposition is a provocation vis-à-vis China in the strongest sense. The visit of Pelosi to Taiwan has challenged the bottom line and the red line of China while undermining China’s sovereign and territorial integrity over Taiwan, a regened province of China. This is a reckless move on the part of Pelosi that has changed the trajectory and the atmosphere of the Taiwan Strait.

I think one of the many reasons for this provocative visit of Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan is the upcoming Mid-Term elections in the United States this November. This is to display some kind of bravado to the American constituency that indeed the United States is still in control and still the dominant power in the world and the Asia Pacific region in relation to other contending powers like China and Russia at the expense of putting the whole world on a brink of another world war. For me, this is a farce show of American exceptionalism and imperialistic tendencies for the sake of US local politics. This is too low even for the likes of Pelosi and the United States as a country.

 
  • Pelosi is the third public official in the line of succession after the President and Vice President. How do you think Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan will affect China-U.S. ties?

My Response: Being the third highest public official of the United States who recently visited Taiwan despite strong opposition from the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese people only signals the further weakening and deterioration of US-China Relations.  

The visit of Pelosi is a serious violation of the One-China Principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. Accordingly, the visit of Pelosi has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations and seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces in Taiwan.

The One-China principle clearly states that there is only one sovereign state under the name China, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) serving as the sole legitimate government of that China, and Taiwan is a part of China. This is one of the basic norms governing international relations, and one of the bedrocks of international law.

The One-China principle is recognized by 181 countries including the United States. While Taiwan’s so-called “independence” is recognized by less than two dozen countries across the globe. The PRC has been recognized by the United Nations and across the world as the sole legal government representing the entire Chinese people. This is I think the glaring fact that Pelosi and company disregarded and disrespected when she landed in Taiwan last Tuesday. Again, this definitely signals the further deterioration of China-US relations.

To add, the problem with the US is that, they say one thing and do another thing. They have this deliberate practice of strategic ambiguity also known as a policy of strategic uncertainty of being intentionally ambiguous on certain aspects of US foreign policy that suits their geostrategic and hegemonic interests at the expense of another country. In short, US foreign policy toward the Taiwan issue vis-à-vis the One China Principle is akin to a “two-faced” foreign policy.  

 
  • The U.S. has been stoking conflicts in many other countries. Why do you think it’s targeting Taiwan this time?

My Response: The US is known for creating and waging war across the world. It invaded and waged war against Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the list goes on. It is targeting Taiwan at this time because it wants to contain China’s rise as a contending power and wants to restrict China’s overall development. It knows that if Taiwan is reunited with the mainland or with the motherland, China’s strength will surpass the United States both economically and geopolitically speaking. Take note, that Taiwan is a giant in many ways when it comes to semiconductor manufacturing. Taiwan dominates the outsourcing of semiconductor manufacturing. Geopolitically speaking, it is also strategically located boasting China’s defense posture in the Indo/Asia-Pacific region. With these, the US is obviously threatened by these realities.

 
  • The U.S. has over the past years been trying various means to contain China. And China has repeatedly said that Taiwan is a red line. Why do you think the U.S. is attempting to challenge China’s red line?

My Response: The answer to that question is simple. The United States is baiting China to fall into the trap of a military confrontation with the US. The US knows that with its crippled economy, take note the US is in recession at the moment, the only way for the US to beat China and preserve its hegemonic interests and preserve a unipolar world order that is dominated by the US is to hinder or contain China’s peaceful rise as a contending power both economically and militarily speaking. The easy way to do it is to entice China into a trap of a military confrontation. Look at what happened to Europe because of the Ukraine Crisis which in essence a proxy war between Russia and the US. Look at the European economies at this time around. Almost all are crippled. Also, America earns from wars because it sells arms heedlessly when war breaks out at the expense of other countries.     

 
  1. China has vowed resolute countermeasures if Pelosi does visit Taiwan. President Xi also warned President Biden not to play with fire. How do you think the U.S. move would undermine peace across the Taiwan Strait?

My Response: Indeed, the recent visit of Pelosi to Taiwan has no doubt put the Taiwan Strait in a new round of tensions and severe challenges, and the underlying reason is the reckless, irresponsible, and provocative adventurism not only of Pelosi and her cohorts but even of the US and Taiwan authorities. Such an irresponsible move on the part of Pelosi, the Taiwan authorities, and the US deserves condemnation for it puts the whole world on a brink of another world war. 

But thank goodness, China is a responsible superpower and did not take the bait of the US. Rather it exercised strong restraint, self-control, and self-discipline. China responded to the provocative visit of Pelosi to Taiwan in a more targeted and calculated manner despite the mounting pressures that did not end up in World War III.

Such action on the part of China is indeed commendable and is worthy of applause. It only goes to show that China is a responsible superpower that exercised strong restraint and took into consideration the plight of regional countries like the Philippines, a country that surely will be affected if a military confrontation breaks out in the Taiwan Strait between itself and the US. This only goes to show that China puts premium and importance on peace and stability of the Indo/Asia Pacific region even though it faced surmountable pressure and was baited to respond militarily. This is a classic display of “grace, prudence, and calmness under pressure” that Washington has never exercised when its hegemonic interests are threatened by any country for that matter.  

To exercise strong restraint for the sake of avoiding World War III is not a weakness but it is a huge strength on the part of China. Unlike the US and Pelosi’s reckless, irresponsible, and showoff charade display of US imperialism and exceptionalism, China took the higher ground and displayed prudence and maturity as a great power.

 
  1. The U.S. is faced with one problem after another domestically, such as coronavirus, shootings, abortion rights, inflation, etc. Instead of addressing these issues at home, the U.S. is diverting public attention elsewhere. Some experts say this shows the failure of the U.S. governance. What’s your take on it?

My Response: Given the mounting domestic problems the US is facing at the moment, obviously, the incumbent government and authorities in the US are trying to divert the attention of the American public from the domestic problems to creating tensions outside its borders and interfering in other countries business and domestic affairs. This is a failure of governance on the part of the Biden Administration. If the US will not address its own domestic problems, in a matter of time, with its economy in a recession, it will experience depression. I guess, before tending to and minding other countries’ domestic/internal affairs, the US should pay more attention to its domestic challenges and address them. In that way, it is truly serving the interests of its people. 

 

READ MORE: Headsight by Prof. Anna Malindog-Uy

 
<strong>Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy</strong> 
Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy 

is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development (ISSCAD), Peking University, Beijing China. She taught Political Science, International Relations, Development Studies, European Studies, Southeast Asia, and China Studies. She is a researcher-writer, academic, and consultant on a wide array of issues. She has worked as a consultant with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other local and international NGOs.
She is currently a director and the Vice President for External Affairs of the Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute (ACPSSI), a think tank based in Manila. She also serves as the political/geopolitical analyst of ACPSSI. She is also the President of Techperformance Corp, an IT-based company in the Philippines.

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