Apple Daily: Beijing waging all-out war against Taiwan

2018/08/19 18:28:18 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

The United States' trade war with China must be seen as an integral part of a long-term strategic competition between the world's two largest economies, and where it will end is anybody's guess.

As Taiwan has close trade relations with both the U.S. and China, the trade war, how it fought, and its outcome will have a direct bearing on Taiwan, particularly in light of the U.S.' new national defense authorization act that touches on the sensitive issue of Taiwan and its relationship with the U.S.

Against that backdrop, a recent Pentagon report on China's military and security development said Beijing has never relinquished the option of using armed force against Taiwan and is continuing to deploy advanced weapons in preparation for a possible conflict across the Taiwan Strait.

As the trilateral relations among Taiwan, the U.S. and China become increasingly volatile and complicated, Beijing is anxious to get a firm grip on Taiwan's intentions.

Beijing has been stepping up its pressure on Taiwan ever since President Tsai Ing-wen took office, particularly as she has not openly recognized the Chinese version of the "1992 consensus" - that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of that China.

Beijing has increased its political, diplomatic, military and economic pressure on Taiwan, to the point where its netizens last week launched a hysterical attack on a Taiwanese-owned coffee shop that Tsai visited during her recent transit stop in Los Angeles.

The 85℃ Bakery Café incident is an indication that Beijing is forcing Taiwanese people to choose sides -- a tactic it has always employed but is now intensifying.

On the other hand, Beijing is also trying to lure Taiwanese with offers of residency cards and its "31 incentives" for Taiwanese investors and professionals.

All these actions are proof that China is turning up the pressure on the Taiwan government by forcing the Taiwanese people to "choose sides." We can call this a strategy of mounting "overall maximum pressure" on Taiwan.

While China will not lightly resort to the use of force, its political, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan is tinged with traces of legal, psychological and public relations warfare, which can now be felt in almost every sphere of social life of Taiwan.

If you don't care about politics, politics will get you. This is an "all-out war" in which China is adopting an integrated approach, involving government institutions to national ideology. Democratic Taiwan, meanwhile, is responding with "boisterous arguments," a euphemism in a multi-cultural society with diverse values.

For instance, when the Pentagon report says Beijing has never renounced the use of force to settle the Taiwan issue, the so-called experts would argue that this is "cold war" mentality.

Some people in Taiwan are so eager to show appeasement that they claim it would not matter if Taiwan simply accepted China's terms of unification. This is exactly what Beijing is hoping to achieve with its public relations and psychological warfare.

The world is no longer what it used to be. It's now a dangerous environment for Taiwan, both from a global and cross-strait perspective. Beijing's long-term "all-out war" is a major threat to us. It is imperative that we - both the government and the people - face that reality before seeking a way out. (Editorial abstract - Aug. 19, 2018)

(By S.C. Chang)

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