The “America COMPETES Act of 2022” risks turning Taiwan into the next front line

Keith Lamb explains how one of the many dangers in the America COMPETES Act, which now just awaits presidential ratification, is that it effectively writes into US law a repudiation of the ‘one China’ policy, thereby potentially opening the door to a catastrophic confrontation.

The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science (COMPETES) Act of 2022 only needs to be passed by the President and it will become law. The bill sounds innocuous but the contents of it are not. While the bill is partly about promoting US science and technology it is just as much about preventing the rise of China’s 1.5 billion as well as the Global South who have democratically partnered with China to build a new world through the Belt and Road Initiative.

In attempting to prevent China’s rise the bill pays special attention to preventing cross straits reunification with the country’s Taiwan province, which could lead to chaos on both ends of Eurasia while the US gains. Already, in the west, the Ukrainian front has been opened at the expense of Europeans who are now forced to buy US gas all the while, as reported in the Global Times, the US has increased its purchase of Russian crude oil by 43 percent. In the east a similar strategy is at play. Taiwanese and European tech companies have been forced to limit their sales to mainland China while the US has made special tech provisions to continue selling.

If the America COMPETES Act of 2022 is passed stoking tensions with China and playing the Taiwan card will become US law! If a war can also be sparked in the east then the US will, as in Ukraine, seek to profit geopolitically and economically by fuelling tensions through weapons sales and “sitting it out” while others are sacrificed in a proxy war.

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The One-China Principle: sole guarantee for stability and prosperity

We are pleased to publish this original analysis by Dirk Nimmegeers, co-editor of and China Vandaag (Belgium) and Friends of Socialist China advisory group member, on the issue of Taiwan.

Taiwanese and Western politicians and journalists are spotlighting alleged similarities between the war in Ukraine and Mainland China-Taiwan relations. Ignoring or concealing real differences and turning reality upside down undermines the one-China principle.

Chinese top diplomats such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee Yang Jiechi, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying react sharply to this, and rightly so.

‘Taiwan is not Ukraine’

On February 23, a reporter from Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV asked Hua Chunying, Deputy Minister and Foreign Affairs spokesperson, what she thought of ‘the Taiwanese leaders’ comparing the Ukraine problem to the Taiwan question, and expressing the hope that the international community will continue to provide Taiwan with weapons so that China’s mainland dare not invade Taiwan by force’.

Hua Chunying replied: ‘Taiwan for sure is not Ukraine. Taiwan has always been an inalienable part of China’s territory. This is an indisputable historical and legal fact’. On March 7, a Bloomberg reporter asked Secretary Wang Yi, ‘What similarities are there between the current situation in Ukraine and the question of Taiwan? How likely would you say conflict in the Taiwan Strait is at the moment?’ Wang Yi’s reply began as follows: ‘Let me first make it clear that the Taiwan question and the Ukraine issue are different in nature and are not comparable at all. Most fundamentally, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the Taiwan question is entirely China’s internal affair’.

The comparisons that you now see popping up in our media for a specific purpose revolve around the themes of independence, political-economic systems and violence.

Taiwan is not an independent state, Ukraine is.

Russia has reattached a part of independent Ukraine, Crimea (which had been transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954), and might plan to annex more regions. China wants to eventually, and peacefully reintegrate Taiwan, which is de facto autonomous, back into the motherland. The resemblance is only there for those who drag it in purposefully. Taiwan is not an independent country and China will never recognize it diplomatically. China has indeed recognized Ukraine and has good relations with that country, of which it is the main trading partner. Moreover, as Benjamin Ho observes: ‘Kyiv joined the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017, Chinese companies have been upgrading the country’s ports and subways. In 2020, Ukraine also signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Huawei.’

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Global Times editorial on the inclusion of Taiwan province in Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’

This significant editorial from leading Chinese newspaper Global Times warns that the Biden administration is making a dangerous and provocative mistake in inviting the Taiwan authorities to its so-called Summit of Democracies next week. This dangerous escalation on the part of the US lends increased topicality and indeed urgency to our own Summit for Socialist Democracy, to be held on December 11, and which includes Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, Korean and Venezuelan perspectives among others.

The US Department of State released on Tuesday evening the list of 110 “participants” to the “Summit for Democracy.” 

What caught the immediate attention of worldwide media were, first, the island of Taiwan was on the list; second, several countries were missing from the list, not just China and Russia, but also Turkey, a NATO member, Hungary, an EU and NATO member, and Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam from Asia, and all the countries from the Middle East except for Israel and Iraq. 

Taiwan being invited was the most eye-catching. In addition to being thankful to the Biden administration, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority immediately announced its representatives to the summit including Audrey Tang Feng, a member of Taiwan’s “executive authority,” and Hsiao Bi-khim, the island of Taiwan’s representative to the US. 

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Li Jingjing interviews Carlos Martinez on Xi-Biden Summit

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was interviewed by CGTN journalist Li Jingjing about the recent Xi-Biden summit, the prospects for the New Cold War in the coming period, the failure of the trade war, the influence of the military-industrial complex on US policy, escalating tensions over Taiwan, and the possibilities for cooperation between the major countries on the question of climate change.

Taiwan – flashpoint for war with China

We republish here an important article by Simon Korner providing background to the increasingly tense situation in the Taiwan Straits. It was originally published on the Facebook page of the Socialist Correspondent. Noting that Taiwan has currently become the most dangerous flashpoint for a possible new world war, the article exposes the dangerous and duplicitous actions of US imperialism and explains how the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland represents the unfinished business of the more than century long Chinese revolution.

This year has seen a significant rise in tensions over Taiwan. It is now the most dangerous flashpoint for world war of all the potential conflict zones.

It is the US which is deliberately escalating the aggression as it faces the rapid economic growth of China, whose GDP is set to lead the world by 2035.

The US has made it clear that it will never allow another power to share its pre-eminent global position. The American government’s 2017 National Security Strategy stated that China poses a threat to “American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity”. Mike Pompeo put it more bluntly when he said that nations have to “pick a side” (July 23, 2020), a view echoed by President Biden: “We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off,” he said (Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June, 2021).

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Biden targets China: Turning Taiwan into a military outpost

We are pleased to republish this valuable article by Gary Wilson in Struggle for Socialism providing an overview of the history of US support for Taiwanese separatism. This support has received a boost recently with Biden and Blinken’s talk of bolstering Taiwan militarily and calling for it to be recognised within UN institutions. Such activity on the part of the US government is simply an attempt to reimpose on China the imperialist domination that was overthrown with the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

The Guardian reports that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken threatened a U.S. military buildup in Taiwan in a “side meeting” at the G20 summit in Rome on Oct. 31. 

The Guardian added that Blinken’s threat “came a week after Biden said the U.S. may support Taiwan’s independence militarily and Blinken called for Taiwan to be recognized within U.N. institutions.”

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Dee Knight: War threats add to climate change danger on eve of COP26

On the eve of the COP26 Conference in Glasgow, we are very pleased to publish this timely article contributed by Dee Knight, member of the Anti-War Subcommittee of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) International Committee, showing how the two vital struggles, against climate catastrophe and imperialist war, are inextricably linked and relating this to US imperialism’s many decades of implacable hostility to the Chinese revolution in particular as well as to socialism and national liberation in Asia generally. 

In the buildup to the World Climate Change summit, slated for Halloween and the first week of November in Glasgow, a NY Times report said “China must pivot away from coal immediately” to avoid climate disaster. The article says “attention is riveted on China and whether it will do more to cut emissions.” It quoted a British member of Parliament saying “China is responsible for almost a quarter of all global emissions right now.”

The Times article acknowledges that China leads the world in hydroelectric, solar and wind power. While admitting the United States has released more human-generated carbon dioxide over the past century than any other country, the article says “China is the biggest current emitter now by a wide margin,”. But on a per capita basis, China’s emissions are less than half the U.S. total. And China is converting to renewables much faster than the U.S.

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Danny Haiphong: Taiwan shows the American empire is a paper tiger

In this powerfully-argued piece on Black Agenda Report, Danny Haiphong exposes the US’s longstanding efforts to use Taiwanese separatism as a means of destabilising the People’s Republic of China. Danny connects this history to the present New Cold War being waged by the US and its allies, directed against not only China but against the entire Global South and the very idea of a multipolar future.

Mao Zedong often referred to U.S. imperialism as a paper tiger. This is truer today than it was in the mid-20th century when Mao frequently employed the phrase. No matter how bellicose the American empire becomes, its strength is more appearance than fact. Brutal violence and exploitation are thus signs of weakness, not legitimacy or credibility. The U.S.’s recent military maneuvers around the issue of Taiwan clearly signal a growth in the decay of the American Empire.

Taiwan has been a topic of conversation in the U.S. corporate media throughout the month of October. Headlines have circulated that claim China has escalated military tensions by flying military aircraft over Taiwan’s so-called Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). The ADIZ was created by the United States after World War II and isn’t recognized by international law. In fact, Taiwan’s so-called ADIZ includes large portions of mainland China. This hasn’t stopped the U.S. media from beating the drums of war with China.

The U.S. Department of Defense under Joe Biden has affirmed its commitment to threatening war with China over Taiwan. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby has warned China that its so-called “pressure campaign” on Taiwan requires the United States to step up efforts to “protect” the island from “danger.” Just days after Kirby’s speech, U.S. and Canadian warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait in a show of joint military force not seen since the U.S. normalized relations with China in 1979. This blatant intensification of military aggression came just a week after reports surfaced that the U.S. had spent the last year secretly deploying special forces to Taiwan.

The American empire has a long history of using Taiwan to meddle in China’s affairs. After pouring heavy financial and military support into the Kuomintang’s (KMT) brutal war against the Communist-led revolution of 1949, the U.S. supported the KMT’s exile to Taiwan. The U.S. heavily militarized Taiwan and even threatened to use nuclear weapons in an attempt to undermine the Chinese revolution. More than two decades would pass before the U.S. cease the prevention of the People’s Republic of China to gain full recognition at the United Nations in place of the “Republic of China” government located in Taiwan. In 1972, the U.S. signed the Shanghai Communiqué —a document that stipulates U.S. recognition of Taiwan as part of China and clearly articulates that the U.S. will cease all attempts to military intervene in its affairs.

That Taiwan is part of China is not controversial outside of the parasitic lens of U.S. and Western imperialism. Taiwan has experienced centuries of colonial incursions. This includes a half-century of Japanese colonialism that ended only after Chinese resistance forces sacrificed more than fifteen million people to win historic victories against fascism in World War II. The return of Taiwan to China is thus an important victory for the anti-colonial movement. And it is this victory that the United States is currently working hard to reverse.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden have provided staunch support to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the separatist political party ruling in Taiwan. In 2019, Trump signed the TAIPEI Act into law which encourages the U.S. to facilitate deeper ties between international organizations and Taiwan’s separatist-led government. This blatant violation of the One-China policy has been followed up with billions worth in military arms deals to Taiwan. After Trump approved $1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan to end his administration, Biden signed off on $750 million more in military weapons transfers to Taiwan which included 40 M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer Systems. These maneuvers bolster the Western-oriented government in Taiwan led by President Tsai Ing-wen, a devout separatist who has openly called Taiwan “vibrantly democratic and Western.”

U.S. interference in China’s relations with Taiwan has made a profound impact on U.S. public opinion. More than half of Americans now support U.S. military intervention in Taiwan . Of course, the poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs added “if China invades” to the question for added anti-China effect. That the poll would promote the propaganda that China could invade its own province should come as no surprise. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is funded in large part by the Pritzker Foundation . The Pritzker family’s enormous wealth derives not only the from the Hyatt hotel but also from its deep connections to war profiteering and the CIA.

Taiwan is the clearest expression of the U.S.’s agenda to reassert neocolonialism in the Asia Pacific as a means to counter China’s rise. However, attempts to bully China over Taiwan have no legitimate end goal. China will not bow down to the claims that Taiwan is an “independent country” since no such thing is acknowledged by international law. The United States must think long and hard about escalating militarily with China. Despite an enormous shift of U.S. military resources to the Indo-Pacific Command, war strategists and profiteers alike would face heavy casualties in a direct conflict with China’s high-tech military armed with a nuclear deterrence.

Unlike the first Cold War, the American Empire is in precipitous decline. Economic immiseration is all the American Empire has to offer the vast majority of humanity. U.S. military policy only facilitates death, destruction, and displacement. U.S. domestic politics are mired in stagnation and lack the capacity to address any fundamental problem facing working class and oppressed people. The paper tiger of American Empire is being ripped apart by its own contradictions. Crisis is the only stable feature left remaining of the American Empire’s so-called dominance.

China does not possess such problems. China’s government has shown consistent respect for international law with regard to Taiwan. China’s stable, prospering socialist economy has eliminated extreme poverty and contained COVID-19. These achievements alone have gained China’s socialist model immense prestige both with the Chinese people and the people of the Global South. Still, the American Empire remains dangerous precisely because its desperation requires the escalation of a New Cold War that threatens to bring about a confrontation between two nuclear powers.

Taiwan is but one piece on a chessboard designed by the United States to undermine China and thus the world from charting a course of history free of imperialist domination. Anyone who calls themselves “the Left” would be foolish to follow the imperialist paper tiger into a trap of its own making with regard to Taiwan or any other feature of the U.S.’s New Cold War against China. Yet this is exactly what has happened. Most of the “left” has abdicated its responsibility to oppose U.S. imperialism and therefore shares responsibility with the right for the U.S.’s hostilities toward China. U.S. interference in China’s affairs regarding Taiwan should thus be seen as an opportunity to reverse this dangerous course and place the demand for the U.S. to respect international law at the forefront of the movement.

Rania Khalek interviews Ken Hammond about Taiwan

In this detailed and useful interview on BreakThrough News, Rania Khalek interviews history professor and China expert Ken Hammond about the rising tensions surrounding Taiwan. They cover the history of the island, the question of China’s representation at the United Nations, the One China policy, the differences between Trump and Biden, and the US’ longstanding attempts to destabilise and balkanise China.

Washington escalates: Secret special forces operating for past year in Taiwan

We are republishing this useful article by Gary Wilson in Struggle for Socialism analysing the significance of recent revelations that US special operations and support troops have been secretly operating in Taiwan for the last year, in violation of international law.

Unless the U.S. government promptly removes its military forces from China’s Taiwan province, China may send in its own military force to defend its territory, declared an Oct. 8 editorial in Global Times, the Communist Party of China’s daily newspaper. 

Global Times explains: “We must resolutely define the deployment of U.S. troops in Taiwan as an ‘invasion.’ The mainland has the right to carry out military strikes against them at any time. We will not make any promises over their safety. Once a war breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, those U.S. military personnel will be the first to be eliminated. Through such a declaration, we must make Washington understand that it is playing a dangerous game that is destined to draw fire onto itself and it is risking the lives of young U.S. soldiers.”

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