Xi Jinping shifting blame to Washington

1 month ago

Foreign media have reported that during a meeting in April last year Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the US is attempting to provoke China to invade Taiwan.

He said that China would not rise to the bait, according to the reports.

These ideas of US provocation or using Taiwan as a means to destroy China have been broached in the past by Chinese academics and retired generals.

In Taiwan, pro-China elements have also been pushing the idea that Washington is exploiting Taipei and extending this to a series of “US skeptic” theories to undermine relations between the US and Taiwan, and inculcate among the public a sense of antipathy toward the government’s purchase of US weapons. Some avidly deep-blue supporters even believe that the US is fleecing Taiwan by selling overpriced, outdated and useless weapons, or that Taiwan can only secure peace by giving up its weapons altogether.

Whatever form this US skepticism takes, it is all rooted in China’s insistence that all problems are the responsibility of other countries and reflect an inability for instropection. China always passes the buck to others, blaming external forces, “Taiwan separatists” and the Democratic Progressive Party. It believes that if it says something loud enough, it can continuously reverse right and wrong, call a deer a horse and sow division, setting members of the public at each other’s throats and benefiting from it.

Xi said China would not act as the US wishes. This does not mean China would not attack Taiwan by force; he is instead casting around for an excuse to initiate an invasion of Taiwan and make China look like the aggrieved party.

Beijing did the same thing a few years ago when it said that COVID-19 originated in the US. It is also possible that Xi is trying to drive a wedge between the EU and the US by saying this.

Nonetheless, Xi’s artifice would not succeed, because most Western countries have already seen through the nature of China, and would not treat it as just any other country. Beijing has repeatedly shown it never practices what it preaches, just as it signed the Peace Treaty with Tibet and the Sino-British Joint Declaration with Hong Kong, but refuses to comply with either.

China had promised not to militarize disputed islands in the South China Sea, but it has not only brought military forces into those islands, but also refused to accept the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s South China Sea ruling in 2016, bullying neighbors such as the Philippines and infringing upon other countries’ rights.

Beijing rationalized its action by blaming the US military’s high-intensity activities and saying that its military deployment is purely for national defense.

From territorial disputes in the South China Sea, it is clear that China always says one thing and does another, not to mention that it refuses to say it would not use force against Taiwan, with military drills around the nation every day increasing the risk of war.

China has intensified its invasion of Taiwan through cognitive warfare, trade tensions, diplomatic isolation, forced declarations and “united front” work in the realm of culture, because it refuses to accept the objective fact that Taiwan is not part of China and sticks to its “reunification” agenda just as it did to exert total control over Hong Kong regardless of the consequences.

Xi’s statements mean nothing until China stops oppressing Taiwan.

Hong Tsun-ming is a specialist in the Taiwan Statebuilding Party’s international section.

Translated by Chien Yan-ru

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