Above: this political cartoon from The Economist was published when pro-reunification Ma Ying-Jiou was Taiwan’s President, through 2015, but the fundamental dynamics have not changed since pro-separatist Tsai Ing-Wen took his place: Baba Beijing and the People’s Republic of China hold all the cards.
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From liberation of the People’s Republic China (PRC) in 1949 until US President Richard Nixon’s détente with Mao Zedong in 1972, Taiwan (along with Tibet) was used by the West as ground zero to overturn the communist Mainland. Before 1972, the US military and CIA worked with Taiwan’s fascist KMT dictatorship to send hundreds of secret suicide missions into the Mainland, to blow up infrastructure and create havoc, with the brainwashed dupes being sent thinking they could bring down the Communist Party of China (CPC). Yuk-yuk-ha-ha, the bad joke was on them.
Starting in 1972, with the US and China now no longer mortal enemies, Uncle Sam backed off being so in-your-face with using Taiwan as a base of subversion. In any case, America was going down in flames in Southeast Asia, which was one of the reasons Nixon pulled off such an amazing diplomatic turnaround, in hopes of getting Mao to stop supplying the communist North Viet Cong with arms and intelligence.
As everywhere “pluralistic democracy” exists, Taiwan is a one-party state, run and owned by the elites. Like the United States and elsewhere, it has two “opposing” parties, in reality, the left and right wings of the elite capitalist party. In Taiwan’s case, it is the one-China unification KMT Party and the separatist two-China Democratic People’s Party (DPP), which formed in 1986. Thirty years later, in 2016, the DPP finally won the presidency and a majority of the legislature, with Mrs. Tsai Ing-Wen as the island’s leader. Baba Beijing was not amused and Tsai has toyed with carefully parsed words and pronouncements, to give the independentists in Taiwan the red meat they are looking for. Cross-strait relations have not been this bad since the days when the island was under commie-fearing martial law, until 1986 (http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/15/world/taiwan-ends-4-decades-of-martial-law.html), and Tsai’s government is in sharp contrast to the previous one, where Sino-Taiwanese cooperation reached its zenith, under KMT leader Ma Ying-Jiou.
Since 2016, Taiwan and its independence party and leader, DPP Tsai Ing-Wen, have been running into a brick wall of harsh reality: they are delusional and out of step with the 21st century. Thanks www.scmp.com
The Mainland and Taiwan came to an agreement, eventually called the 1992 Consensus, with both sides claiming dominion over the other, as one China, and leaving it at that. What it really was, was a tacit admission by Taiwan that it had better reach some kind of rapprochement with the Motherland, in order to participate in China’s exploding, double digit growth (http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1104732/1992-consensus-between-beijing-and-taipei-appears-here-stay). Korea, Japan, Eurangloland and everybody else were seeking gold in China’s dizzying Sino-Eldorado, while the Taiwanese were looking westward across the waters, with drooling envy. The island’s genocidal dictator, Chiang Kai-Shek had been dead since 1975 and it was time to adapt or perish into global economic irrelevance.
Hmm… just looking at this map, I wonder which one will eventually govern the other, Taiwan ruling over the Mainland, or the PRC reunifying Taiwan into the Chinese fold?
As a result of the 1992 Consenus, cross-straits relations, communications and investments continue to mushroom, even with the DPP barking in the background about seceding from the Motherland.
Secession will never happen.
Since 1949, the Mainland has told the world loudly and clearly that it will reunite Taiwan by force, if the island tries to become an independent country. No wiggle room, no ambiguity, no bullshit. In Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent 19th Communist Party Congress speech, he alluded that the goal is to have all of China reunited by 2049 (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/10/23/xi-jinpings-19th-party-congress-speech-is-a-declaration-of-war-vs-western-capitalism-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171023/). For Hong Kong, that means 2047, by treaty (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/08/26/baba-beijing-is-sick-and-tired-of-the-west-using-hong-kong-to-overthrow-the-cpc-china-rising-radio-sinoland-170821-2/). Then, Macau joins the ranks in 2049, also by treaty (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Declaration_on_the_Question_of_Macau). Since there is no agreed upon timetable for Taiwan, Xi’s wording means that if push comes to shove and Taiwan is still trying to remain separate from the Mainland, then Baba Beijing may have to resort to economic or military force.
The year 2049 is iconic for the PRC, since that will be the centennial of its founding, with the CPC at the helm. Baba Beijing’s thinking is that 100 years is patience enough for Taiwan to rejoin the Motherland. By that time, China will have long surpassed the United States and European Union (EU) in gross national product (GNP) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will be in full bloom across Asia and into Europe and Africa (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/05/16/chinas-dream-is-changing-your-world-while-the-west-declines-godfree-roberts-on-cr-radio-sinoland/). Taiwan has 23,000,000 citizens, the same population as each of the Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing or Guangzhou. Economically, it is an Asian fly on the rump of the world’s Sino-elephant. Geopolitically, it is about the size of a rat on the same global colossus, only because imperial America is lurking in the background and keeps selling it arms.
Baba Beijing has three scenarios to make sure the PRC is made whole by 2049.
First, is to continue integrating the two economies, in reality, China subsuming Taiwan, to the point that the island sees the writing on the wall and joins the fold. If that doesn’t work, the Mainland could easily bring this renegade province to its knees, with an economic boycott, kicking out the 1,000,000 Taiwanese living and doing business in China – about 5% of the island’s total population. Since many of them own substantial capital investments here, I suspect after one or two shiploads of refugees being dropped off in Taiwan would be enough. To follow through would mean the chaotic collapse of Taiwan’s economy, leaving it to declare victory and become the last piece of China’s reunification puzzle.
The final option is of course the military one. China’s navy is already stronger than what the US can keep in the South China Sea (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2016/09/04/from-may-9th-in-moscow-to-september-3rd-in-beijing-the-anti-west-order-comes-full-circle-reprint/) and it probably explains why Baba Beijing is building its third aircraft carrier in record time (http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2126883/china-has-started-building-its-third-aircraft-carrier). Baba Beijing could do it without firing a single bullet. Just put a chain link naval blockade around Taiwan and the island could hold out for a month or so, before declaring victory and signing on the dotted line. If China did have to resort to invading Taiwan, the chances of the United States seriously trying to defend the island are shrinking by the day. In any case, the 1955-1979 (Taiwanese) Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty lost its validity with Jimmy Carter diplomatically recognizing the PRC in that latter year (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-American_Mutual_Defense_Treaty). Since then, Uncle Sam is not even bound by treaty to do so and wouldn’t stand a chance of making much of a difference so far from home, except getting its ass kicked.
I doubt the US would do anything to seriously help Taiwan being invaded, anyway. America wouldn’t mind seeing thousands or millions of Taiwanese lose their lives, if it meant harming communist China’s global image. All empires are zero sum and racist. Recently, Uncle Sam is dancing dangerously close to the Sino-fire, with the newest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowing joint military drills with Taiwan (http://theduran.com/china-threatens-state-war-us-threatens-sovereignty/). For Baba Beijing, that would be a declaration of war, with Senior Chinese diplomat Li Kexin stating,
The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force.
See the above paragraph, final option, for what would happen next.
Baba Beijing is patient, very patient, and is happy to keep the status quo going for 30 more years, if it means peaceful reunification. In the interim, if Taiwan’s separatist Democratic People’s Party gets a wild, suicidal hair up its island ass and declares independence from the Motherland, so be it. Each of the three contingencies I described above could be implemented by China tomorrow. Taiwanese are apparently deluded, if this recent survey is accurate, showing that 54% prefer secession (http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2099286/most-taiwanese-consider-taiwan-china-separate-countries). Are they willing to fight the Mainland for it? Are they ready to die for their cause? China has 1.4 billion citizens eager to answer the call, untold millions of whom are willing to die for China’s complete reunification. Apparently, Taiwan only has about 12 million citizens who want independence. I know who I’m placing my bets on.
One way or another, whether peacefully or push comes to outright invasion, Taiwan’s renegade population is Sino-screwed, stewed and skewered.
Revolutionary poster, and seeing the man holding Mao’s Little Red Book, it is probably from the mid- to late sixties. It was true in 1949, still is in 2018 and nothing will change in 2049. Taiwan will be reunited with the Motherland. Pilot, peasant, soldier, worker, fisherman, wave after wave; the sky filled with air force jets and the sea filled with the Red Navy. I think we can say they have a look of absolute resolve on their faces. Being published with English, French and Chinese as well, Baba Beijing wanted the West to know crystal clear China’s non-negotiable policy.
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