The US Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday published an amended version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act which contains provisions calling for strengthened security cooperation and military communication with Taiwan including supporting US troops to participate in the island's Han Kuang exercises. The legislation will very likely pass the Senate.
The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act garnered extensive attention as it demanded the US defense secretary evaluate the possibility of mutual visits by naval vessels between the US and Taiwan. Congress also passed the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows high-level visits between leaders of Taiwan and the US. These laws encroach on the one-China principle, which is the political foundation of China-US relations, and create uncertainties in bilateral relations.
With growing vigilance and simmering bellicosity toward China, the US elites are viewing China increasingly negatively. The provocative legislation reflects this change. In addition to trade tensions, the US has taken an aggressive stance against China on security issues, which made it more challenging for Beijing to handle friction with Washington. On the one hand, the US has increased provocations against China's core interests with an aim of pressuring and deterring China. On the other, it has moved incrementally, trying to avoid a backlash and a dangerous showdown.
The Trump administration has launched a strategic offensive against China and taken a tough stance. But it doesn't want a strategic showdown regardless of the costs and results.
China must keep calm in the face of an unscrupulous US strategic squeeze. We must figure out the strategic position of China and the US, keeping in mind the US advantage while having confidence in our own strength. Based on this, we must further clarify and reiterate China's core interests to the outside world. The core interests combined together constitute the lifeline of China's rise. China must safeguard that lifeline by all means.
The Taiwan Straits is China's core interest. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing, Washington has by and large abided by the principles enshrined in the three communiqués. However, the phone call between Donald Trump and Tsai Ing-wen when he was president-elect derailed that protocol in bilateral relations. Afterward, the US Congress passed a series of Taiwan-related acts. Washington seems to be playing an active role in sabotaging cross-Straits stability.
China and the US are likely to face a new Taiwan Straits crisis sooner or later. China needs to make early preparations. The Chinese mainland is not afraid of any crisis in the Taiwan Straits, even a showdown, so as to quash US and Taiwan aggressiveness and safeguard national unity.
Concessions won't win long-term peace and cooperation between China and the US. Only if both countries act in accordance with principles and do not cross each other's bottom line can bilateral relations be stabilized.