KMT tricks and the US’ rebalancing toward Asia
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times  2015.11.21  

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) US visit was a failure, because both Chu and the KMT are denying reality and have failed to keep up with changing times. The fact that this century-old party is out of touch with reality is related to its concern about its own benefits. In particular, it is paving the way for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to step down safely next year.

Before Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) US visit in June, Washington said that it would not endorse the so-called “1992 consensus.” As Chu repeatedly criticized Tsai for not acknowledging the consensus during his US visit, he was indirectly criticizing Washington as well. How could such a visit be successful? It is laughable that Ma and Chu are still dreaming about the US and China managing Taiwan together.

China is keenly aware of the current state of Sino-US relations. An article in the Hong Kong-based Cheng Ming (爭鳴) magazine revealed Beijing’s view on the US’ rebalancing toward Asia, saying that the US is simultaneously pushing for the adjustment of its overall military and economic strategies in the Asia-Pacific region. This rebalancing has been adjusted and no longer has the same meaning that it first did. It is now more like a kind of “deployment” in nature.

What is a deployment? The article stated that military deployment includes enticing rivals to take the initiative to start a war. Even a small-scale battle could lead to the complete breakup of China and the ASEAN.

This might explain why China was loud and tough on the South China Sea issue at the beginning, but then kept a lower profile when the US’ guided-missile destroyer the USS Lassen sailed through and two B-52 bombers flew over the disputed waters.

Meanwhile, Chinese Communist Party Central Military Commission Deputy Chairman Fan Changlong (范長龍) pledged at the Xiangshan Forum last month that: “We will never recklessly resort to the use of force, even on issues involving territory and sovereignty, and have done our utmost to avoid any unexpected conflicts.” This of course includes Taiwan.

Today, Ma and Chu are dealing with the US politely, but without sincerity, while they turn toward China. Do they really think that they can fool the Americans with the 5,000-year-old Chinese culture of trickery? The criticism from the US Congress and US think tanks of Ma’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) was louder than the diplomatic language of the Department of State. Their mentions of the Taiwan Relations Act were more frequent than at any time in the past. However, just like Beijing, Ma and Chu have repeatedly avoided the Taiwan Relations Act, which is a formal US domestic law, and they have even tried to threaten Taiwanese with Chinese hostility. They are going to ridiculous lengths to realize their ulterior motives.

Soon after Chu returned to Taiwan, American Institute in Taiwan Director Kin Moy paid a visit to the National Space Organization in Hsinchu. In addition, a US delegation led by former US undersecretary of defense Michele Flournoy visited Tsai for an in-depth discussion on Taiwan-US relations, the cross-strait situation and national security issues. Besides, Taiwan’s strategic position is clearly defined in the US-Japan security treaty.

During the “window” period after the presidential and legislative elections, it is likely that the US and Japan will cooperate with Taiwan’s next legislature to monitor the Ma administration, which is due to step down on May 20 next year. If China makes any big moves in that time, perhaps Tsai and US President Barack Obama could also meet to deter Beijing.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Eddy Chang


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