Why Biden’s visit to East Asia is on the wrong foot

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By Victor Gao

On the heels of his visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), US President Joe Biden is visiting Japan and is eager to stir up more anti-China hostility in East Asia and in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, focusing on the QUAD (allegedly an anti-China alliance), the Taiwan question and proposing a new “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” (IPEF), allegedly aimed at excluding China.

China is the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP), and the second largest economy in the world by official exchange rate calculation, and is the largest trading nation with more than 130 countries and regions in the world, including most countries in the Asia-Pacific region. To exclude China economically in the present world is an act of lunacy, insanity and futility, and will hurt rather than help the fundamental interests of the American people. By all reasonable estimation, China will surpass the US as the largest economy before the end of this decade. No one can halt China’s economic growth momentum. As a matter of fact, any attempt to deprive the Chinese people their right of economic development will probably be the largest crime against humanity and will fail miserably. What matters in East Asia, in the Asia-Pacific region, and in the world as a whole is peace, growth and development, rather than confrontation, war or a restart of another Cold War. China is a major force for peace and development in the world today, and the United States will need to get along with China, rather than confronting it. The real essence of the Taiwan question is the unfinished civil war in China in the later 1940s, which led to the establishment of the People’s Republic China (PRC) in the Chinese mainland in 1949, and the fleeing from the mainland to China’s Taiwan province by the then Nationalist government headed by Chiang Kai-shek in 1949. By today, more than 180 countries in the world and all the major international organizations in the world recognize that there is only one China, and Taiwan is part of China, and the PRC is the sole legitimate representative of China. The United States made such acknowledgment in 1979 in order to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC, on the precondition set by the PRC of withdrawing the US troops from the Taiwan region, abrogating the US “diplomatic relations” and “defense treaty” with Taiwan. The US position today regarding Taiwan is full of deliberate ambiguity aimed at misleading the American people to start with, misleading those in Taiwan who want to promote “Taiwan independence,” and misleading the whole world about the real legal status of Taiwan, which is a part of China. The US decision-makers may believe that stirring up military confrontation across the Taiwan Straits may be a sure way of causing bloodshed involving Taiwan and deterring China’s continued peaceful development. What the US is doing may, as a matter of fact, provoke the resurrection of the unfinished civil war, which is purely a Chinese internal matter, and neither the US nor any other foreign country has any legitimate justification to be involved in a resurrected civil war in China. The US may also completely miscalculate the situation because the people on the two sides of the Taiwan Straits are the same Chinese people, and the unification of China in the name of a united China is the mega-trend of the world today. No US president has any legal justification or moral decency to send American soldiers to fight in the resurrected civil war in China, which the US government may be provoking with ominous and dangerous schemes. No other country in the world would serve the fundamental interest of their own people to fight in the resurrected civil war in China, which the US government is actively and viciously provoking.  As far as the QUAD is concerned, to expect that the great nation of India can be hijacked to the war wagon of the United States against China, is a complete misreading of the independence of India as a great country. For thousands of years, China and India got along with each other peacefully. The territorial disputes which exist between the two countries today were created by neither of them, but by the British imperial colonists in British India. The Chinese nation and the Indian nation, the only two super-populations in the world, will surely have sufficient wisdom, courage and vision to overcome the conspiratorial schemes of the British colonists when they ruled the great Indian people as a second-class sub-species and schemed to invade and occupy China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. As for Japan, it still has territorial disputes with Russia, ROK, China and China’s Taiwan region, despite its unconditional surrender in 1945. A firm and stern message should be conveyed to the Japanese government that Japan is not allowed to possess offensive weapons or weapons of mass destruction of any kind in the world today, lest it suffers horrendous consequences. The best way for Japan to regain its normal and complete sovereignty is to fully commit to peace and to perpetually forswear war of any kinds. It will be against the fundamental interest of the Japanese people to agitate for war and forswear peace. Victor Gao is a current affairs commentator and the former interpreter for Deng Xiaoping and chairman of the China Energy Security Institute. He is also a chair professor at Soochow University and vice president of the Center for China and Globalization.

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