In the waning days of the current presidency, it seems that nothing can stop the outgoing US administration from continuing its political adventurism. The outgoing president’s administration is now recklessly playing with matches on a barrel of gunpowder.
On Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was lifting restrictions on official contacts with the island of Taiwan. This followed his announcement that US ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft will visit Taiwan this week and a US “political-military dialogue” held on Thursday.
Such highly provocative moves have naturally been met with strong opposition from Beijing, as the United States has deliberately breached its commitment to the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques that have served as the premise for bilateral ties.
Under the three joint communiques, the US recognized the one-China principle and pledged not to have any official exchanges with Taiwan. This has served as the cornerstone for China-US relations. In other words, the entirety of China-US interactions, including the thriving economic ties and people-to-people exchanges, has been built upon that bedrock.
As such, Pompeo is pulling a fast one by alleging that the US has for years set self-imposed restrictions for its interaction with Taiwan only to appease Beijing.
Although it is not known what the move means in practice, the separatists on the island of Taiwan should not miscalculate this and believe US intervention is an attempt to help them realize their ambition of splitting the island from the motherland. The administration is merely using the island as a pawn in its power play against Beijing.
The US administration has increased the frequency of arms sales to the island.
The latest moves appear to be another part of the effort by the outgoing administration to stoke confrontation with Beijing to hobble the policies of its successor.
Both the Democratic Progressive Party administration on the island and its friends in Washington should know that their provocations will be met with a strong response and countermeasures from Beijing.
Although some US politicians may wishfully think that they can bend Beijing’s bottom line on the Taiwan question or lay a trap for the next administration using the island, they should know that it is a dangerous game they are playing.
Beijing has repeatedly warned the US not to underestimate both its resolve and capabilities to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the incoming administration should not let that warning fall on deaf ears.
The devices of the current administration are incendiary. The incoming administration should tread carefully.