In this insightful article for Fighting Words, Chris Fry summarizes the latest efforts by the Biden administration to slander – and escalate tensions with – China.
The article starts by describing Antony Blinken’s recent accusations that China is sending – or “contemplating sending” – military assistance to Russia. Chris notes the twisted irony of this accusation, given that “the US has supplied more than $100 billion in military aid to Ukraine so far, with more on the way,” and given that the US government is quite clearly implementing a strategy directed not at bringing about peace or saving Ukrainian lives, but at defeating and weakening the Russian Federation and expanding NATO’s hegemony in Europe.
It is presumably not a coincidence that this accusation is being amplified at a time when China has put forward an important position paper on the Ukraine conflict, calling for the abandoning of Cold War mentality, a resumption of peace talks, and an end to illegal sanctions. China’s peace proposals – grounded firmly in international law and consistent with the principles of the UN Charter – are resonating with governments throughout the world, particularly in the Global South. Therefore the US is doing what it can to tarnish China’s reputation as a responsible power.
Chris also highlights the US’s increasingly desperate attempts to stoke tensions in relation to Taiwan Province. With the anti-independence Kuomintang having scored an important victory in Taiwan’s local elections last year – and having good prospects in next year’s presidential elections – the US is fast-tracking its provocations, which “seek to provoke a justified but costly Chinese military attack on Taiwan and thus ‘justify’ a US war against China.”
China’s response to such provocations has been measured and proportional; as such the US strategy is failing. Nonetheless, notes the author, “progressives and anti-war activists must prepare now to muster their forces.”
Unable to intimidate the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over its balloon being shot down by U.S. Air Force jets along with three other balloons in a missile-firing frenzy, President Biden, through his war hawk Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is now accusing China of “contemplating sending lethal aid” to the Russian Federation.
Speaking to “Meet the Press” on February 9 after meeting with Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi in Munich, Blinken arrogantly attacked China for its relations with the Russian Federation while it maintains strict neutrality in the conflict:
“Publicly, they present themselves as a country striving for peace in Ukraine,” he said … “But privately, as I said, we’ve seen already over these past months the provision of nonlethal assistance that does go directly to aiding and abetting Russia’s war effort.”
According to a February 20 article in the New York Times. Blinken then moved on from slander to insinuation:
Over the weekend, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, indicated that he had evidence that, behind the scenes, Beijing was tilting toward stronger support for Mr. Putin and “considering providing lethal support to Russia in its aggression against Ukraine.”
Of course, Blinken offered no such “evidence”. He then made a veiled threat:
“And I was able to share with him [Wang Yi], as President Biden had shared with President Xi, the serious consequences that would have for our relationship,” Mr. Blinken said.
The U.S. has supplied more than $100 billion in military aid to Ukraine so far, with more on the way, according to a USA Today February 19 article. This all comes as Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev to ensure that the Ukraine proxies keep fighting and dying for Big Oil’s capture of the EU oil and gas market, as described by Seymour Hersh in his expose of the U.S. secret operation to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines.
The PRC made it absolutely clear that it will not be bullied by Blinken, Biden or U.S. imperialism as a whole:
“The U.S. is not qualified to give orders to China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing. “We will never accept U.S. criticism, even coercion and pressure on China-Russia relations.”
Wang said China’s position on Ukraine “can be simply put as promoting peace talks.”
“China will continue to firmly stand on the side of dialogue and peace and play a constructive part in easing the situation,” he said.
China has maintained that the U.S., by its campaign to expand NATO as an open military threat to Russia, bears responsibility for this conflict.
China’s overtures to Taiwan threaten U.S. war plans.
Six members of a high-level delegation from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) arrived at Taipei airport on the island of Taiwan on February 18. They were led by Liu Xiaodong, deputy head of the Shanghai office of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office. This is the first visit by PRC officials in three years, according to a February 18 Reuters report.
They were invited to attend the Lantern Festival in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, by the city government. The mayor of Taipei, Chiang Wan-an of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), was elected in December as one of many KMT candidates who scored a major victory in local elections across Taiwan.
The KMT, a pro-business and anti-communist political party, nevertheless is anti-Taiwan-independence, and has called for renewal of negotiations with the PRC. This contrasts sharply with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has pushed for independence from China and has received increasing political and military support from U.S. Imperialism, which wants to turn Taiwan into a weapons-filled “porcupine” against the PRC and a center point for a U.S. military campaign against China.
This visit comes just after a visit by a KMT delegation to the PRC earlier in February. The KMT has a very real chance of winning the Taiwan presidential election next year, which would stymie U.S. war plans against China.
Taiwan is the lynchpin of the entire U.S strategy against the PRC, which seeks to provoke a justified but costly Chinese military attack on Taiwan and thus “justify” a U.S. war against China. That U.S. strategy violates the “One China” policy agreed to by the U.S. in 1979 and which is recognized by nearly every nation on the planet.
Obviously alarmed by this visit, the Pentagon quickly dispatched Michael Chase, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, to Taiwan. He arrived on the same day as the PRC delegation. According to a Bloomberg article this marks the first time a top Pentagon official has made a non-secret trip to Taiwan in three years.
The Bloomberg article continues:
A US congressional delegation led by California Democrat Ro Khanna was also expected to arrive in Taiwan on Saturday, in a mission aimed at bolstering economic ties in areas such as semiconductor manufacturing.
Meanwhile, the White House will hold “secret talks” with Taiwan officials in Washington next week, the Financial Times reported Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and National Security Council secretary-general Wellington Koo will meet through the so-called “special channel” with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, according to the report.
Biden computer chip strategy not popular in Taiwan
On February 17, the corporate magazine Foreign Affairs published an article titled “Taipei Fears Washington Is Weakening Its Silicon Shield.” The article describes a rift between Taiwan’s business community and Washington:
Last December, at the unveiling of a new semiconductor plant in Arizona, U.S. President Joe Biden triumphantly declared that “American manufacturing is back, folks.” Yet to some in attendance, the event was not a cause for celebration.
The Arizona plant belongs to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). TSMC founder Morris Chang is a revered figure in Taiwan for making the island a technological powerhouse—but he is also one of the most outspoken critics of Biden’s plan to reinvigorate the U.S. semiconductor industry. In recent months, Chang has sounded the alarm that Taiwan’s chip sector is being “hollowed out” at the expense of its security. But unable to resist lush financial incentives and diplomatic pressure from Washington, TSMC and Taiwanese authorities approved the new Arizona plant.
The article asserts that Taiwan’s business leaders see the TSMC’s advanced facility as a “silicon shield” preventing the PRC from occupying the island. But China has always called for negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of Taiwan’s status under one China, whereas a November 2021 article from the U.S. Army War College pushed for the White House to “persuade” Taiwan’s leaders to plant explosives around the TSMC plant:
To start, the United States and Taiwan should lay plans for a targeted scorched-earth strategy that would render Taiwan not just unattractive if ever seized by force, but positively costly to maintain. This could be done most effectively by threatening to destroy facilities belonging to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the most important chipmaker in the world and China’s most important supplier.
An automatic mechanism might be designed, which would be triggered once an invasion was confirmed. In addition, Taiwan’s leaders could make it known now they will not allow these industries to fall into the hands of an adversary. The United States and its allies could support this endeavor by announcing plans to give refuge to highly skilled Taiwanese working in this sector, creating contingency plans with Taipei for the rapid evacuation and processing of the human capital that operates the physical semiconductor foundries.
Taiwan’s government officials were forced to tell the island’s legislature that this Pentagon “doomsday proposal” was just “wargaming”, and that the international supply chain of parts and equipment for the chip industry was sufficient to deter the PRC from a military attack.
But as seen from last year’s election outcome on the island, residents would appear less than eager to have their homes and workplaces destroyed by Washington’s “scorched earth” policy and their loved ones shipped away. Even Taiwan’s business leaders feel threatened by Washington’s willingness to have their facilities destroyed to endow U.S. high tech companies gain computer chip hegemony.
No wonder that island residents are increasingly open to restoring comprehensive talks with the PRC. An AFP website article described the visit by the Chinese officials to Taipei:
Officials “exchanged views on municipal issues such as culture, sports and tourism… The Shanghai delegation also said they felt a warm reception,” Taipei’s city government said in a statement on Monday [February 20].
China suspended a host of Taiwanese food and drink shipments in December, escalating a ban on fruit and fish imports imposed after then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Pelosi’s August trip tipped relations between Taipei and Beijing to their lowest point in years, with the People’s Liberation Army staging massive military drills around the island in protest.
Beijing had fostered closer ties with the KMT under Tsai’s pro-China predecessor Ma Ying-jeou and, with Tsai ineligible for another term, the field for the coming presidential race is more open.
Song Tao, head of Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told Hsia’s delegation the Communist Party was willing to work with the KMT to promote relations based on the shared political foundation of opposing Taiwanese independence, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
With the possibility of an election defeat of the pro-independence governing party in 2024, the U.S. is desperately searching for some pretext to isolate China and launch a military attack. So far, they have failed, but nonetheless progressives and anti-war activists must prepare now to muster their forces.