Recently, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the region of Taiwan, which seriously violated the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiques.
These are principles agreed upon decades ago by the United States and China. The breaking of these agreements has had a severe impact on the political foundations of China-U.S. relations and gravely undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Some American officials have cited wrongful action in the past to justify the visit and have even accused China of “overreacting,” despite the fact that it was the United States that has changed the status quo of the Taiwan Strait. These groundless accusations against China misrepresent facts, confound right and wrong and mislead the public.
Taiwan has never been a country – there is only one China, and both sides of the Taiwan Strait have belonged to one and the same China since ancient times. The China-U.S. Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations in 1979 stressed that the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government of China and that Taiwan is part of China. This has been the status quo of the Taiwan Strait for decades. But this status quo has been broken, not by China, but by the U.S. and separatist forces in Taiwan.
Several years ago, the U.S. inserted the so-called “Six Assurances to Taiwan,” something it had long kept secret, into its formulation of the one-China policy.
Through these actions, it is clear that at each step of the way, it has been the U.S. changing the status quo and harming the foundations of peace and stability in the region.
The same goes for the Taiwan authorities.
Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power, it has continuously sought “incremental independence,” pushed forward “de-sinicization” and attempted to create “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” at every opportunity. Isn’t this blatantly changing the status quo as well?
There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. This is at the heart of the one-China principle. U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s visit to Taiwan was a serious mistake, and the Chinese government expressed strong opposition at the time. The U.S. has no right or reason to repeat the mistake and cannot use its past wrongdoing as an excuse or precedent for repeating the mistake today.
For some time now, the U.S. has gone out of its way to play “the Taiwan card” and seek to “contain” China. The goal of the United States is to continually distort and hollow out the one-China principle, stepping up official exchanges with Taiwan, supporting Taiwan in developing “asymmetric capabilities” and spreading the idea that “Taiwan’s status is undetermined,” thus emboldening “Taiwan independence” separatist activities. These actions by the United States have changed the one-China policy status quo and harm peace and stability in the region.
Pelosi’s reckless visit to China’s Taiwan region seriously undermines China’s sovereignty, and it is only natural that China makes a firm response. Any other country in the same position would do the same. Our position is justified, reasonable and lawful; our measures are firm, strong and proportionate; and our military exercises are open, transparent and professional. They are consistent with domestic and international law and practice. They are aimed at sending a warning to the perpetrators and punishing “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.
If China did not firmly resist the U.S. side’s rash, irresponsible and irrational actions, then the principle of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity would become just empty words, separatist and extremist forces would be emboldened, and the hard-won peace and stability in our region would be seriously undermined.
A total of 181 countries, including the U.S. and Canada, have established diplomatic ties with China on the basis of the one-China principle. More than 170 countries and many international institutions in the international community have voiced staunch support for China on the Taiwan question through various means. Many Canadian people of insight have also criticized Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan. The U.S. should face squarely the international call for justice and return to the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques.
Cong Peiwu is China’s ambassador to Canada.