China’s sly tricks show its lack of confidence
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times  2016.4.19
Early last month, the UN Security Council voted to toughen its sanctions on North Korea. Due to worries that China would be threatened if the US deploys the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea or even “decapitates” North Korea, Beijing this time decided to support the sanctions.

The move angered Pyongyang so much that the government-controlled media condemned not only “American imperialism,” but also a “major power” that is so concerned with saving face and status that it will not even stop at severing a “friendship sealed in blood” as it tried to secretly reach an agreement that suppresses “justice and truth.”

It is obvious that the major power is China. Indeed, the “friendship sealed in blood” between the two “brotherly states” and “brotherly parties” has lasted for more than 60 years, so North Korea should have a clear understanding of what lengths and levels of secrecy China is willing to go to due to considerations of face and status.

Beijing’s threats to president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) are a case in point. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) warning to Tsai that “the earth would move and mountains would shake” if she does not accept the so-called “1992 consensus” has been followed by a long series of rumors from all quarters. Some repeated rumors include China cutting the number of tourists to Taiwan and poaching the nation’s diplomatic allies.

China’s sneakiness depends on whether it is afraid of doing what it wants to do. It will never abandon North Korea, a close old buddy that shares a similar ideology. Still, worrying that the US might handle the issue by force, it had no choice but to reluctantly support the UN sanctions.

However, Beijing is merely putting on a show and it is unwilling to impose true sanctions. Otherwise, Pyongyang would be unable to survive and it would never dare to issue nuclear threats.

China’s attempts to force Tsai to accept the “1992 consensus” also come out of a concern with face and status. However, it does not dare to impose sanctions on Taiwan, and that is why Beijing keeps issuing threats and playing sneaky little tricks. It is well aware that it might not be easy to avoid embarrassment if any big move has the opposite of its intended outcome.

Several years ago, it punished Kaohsiung by banning Chinese tourists from visiting and since then, the city has leaned even heavier toward the pan-green camp.

If it greatly angers Taiwanese, Taiwan would only move further away from China. Does China dare resolve this by force, in complete disregard of what the US and Japan think?

China would of course hurt Taiwan if it were to make a big move, but it would not be the end of the world. After some short-term pain, Taiwan would recover and would finally be able to rid itself of the Republic of China burden. Meanwhile, the internal power struggles of the Chinese Communist Party would continue to grow and it would eventually break apart.

Shamelessly, some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians and commentators are unwilling to stand together with Taiwanese and safeguard Taiwanese sovereignty. Instead, they are attempting to legitimize China’s sneaky tricks. By doing so, they are helping Beijing do evil.

Taiwanese should see through China’s sneaky tricks, which are a reflection of its lack of confidence, and they should build a new nation of their own, confidently and strategically. If they are so frightened that they are willing to abandon their principles, the Chinese nightmare would never end and they would always fear abduction by the Chinese communists regardless of where they go in the world.
Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Eddy Chang


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