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US attempts to erase one-China principle by changing Taiwan-related statement: Chinese scholar

《环球时报》 2022-05-10

"There is only one China in the world. The government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The Taiwan region is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday in response to the revision of Taiwan-related statements by the US, noting that the one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community and widely recognized norm of international relations, which does not allow challenge or distortion.

The US has made solemn commitments on the Taiwan question and the "one-China principle" in the three US-China Joint Communiques. The revision of Taiwan-related statements by the US is an attempt to erase the one-China principle. US' political manipulation of the Taiwan question and attempts to change the status quo across the Taiwan Straits will surely backfire, Zhao noted.

The changes to important Taiwan-related statements by the US reflect its policy toward the island, and the deletion of the relevant statement "Do not support Taiwan independence" is a major step backward and an attempt to erase the one-China principle, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Monday.

The US State Department has made extensive adjustments and revisions to its statement on so-called US-Taiwan relations, the Global Times saw on its website on Tuesday. In particular, two important items were deleted: "The United States do not support Taiwan independence" and "In the Joint Communique, the United States recognized the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China."

The above-mentioned deletions indicate that the US' policy towards the island is being reversed. The change in the official statement means that in the future the US will continue to back away from their previous position of no support towards Taiwan's independence, may stop to publicly emphasize it and this may be reflected on policy level. At the same time, the US' statement of the one-China principle and the statement that "Taiwan is part of China" are also likely to gradually fade, Xin said.

While deleting the important statements, the US State Department also added some new contents, including sentences such as: "The United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances," and "Taiwan has become an important U.S. partner in trade and investment, health, semiconductor and other critical supply chains, investment screening, science and technology, education, and advancing democratic values."

Among the above additions, the expression "Six Assurances" appear for the first time. The so-called Six Assurances were made by the Reagan administration to Taiwan's leaders regarding arms sales to the island and they are: the US has not agreed to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan; Has not agreed to consult with the PRC on arms sales to Taiwan; Will not play a mediating role between Taipei and Beijing; Has not agreed to revise the Taiwan Relations Act; Has not altered its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan; Will not exert pressure on Taiwan to enter into negotiations with the PRC.

The expert told the Global Times that the "Six Assurances" existed during the Reagan administration and were made public under the Trump administration. The US House of Representatives and the Senate passed a joint resolution in 2016 stating that the "Six Assurances" and the "Taiwan Relations Act" are the cornerstones of US-Taiwan relations.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated earlier that both the "Taiwan Relations Act" and the "Six Assurances," concocted by some forces in the US, contravene the three China-US Joint Communiqués. In essence, they have placed US domestic law above international obligations and are therefore illegal and invalid.

The revision of the US' official statement indicates that Washington is "hollowing out" its "one China policy," or the substantive content of the one-China principle that China instead emphasizes. The US' "one China policy" is deteriorating, said Xin.

In terms of concrete actions, the US will further enhance its substantive relations with Taiwan in the future, such as official exchange visits or support for the island's "meaningful participation in the United Nations system", Xin predicted.

Besides, the US may react more strongly to the Chinese mainland's actions to deter the so-called Taiwan independence, such as increasing arms sales to the island or strengthening intelligence sharing, and will more and more explicitly support the authorities from the island to resist the "pressure" from the Chinese mainland, Xin noted.

In fact, the US has been conducting similar manipulations in recent times. The 75th World Health Assembly will be held in Geneva on the May 22, and the island of Taiwan has not yet received an invitation letter this time, as the media reported, while the US House of Representatives passed a bill claiming on April 27 to assist the island in regaining its observer status.

Earlier last month, a bipartisan congressional delegation consisting of six members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, including Chairman Robert Menendez, visited the island. This was the fourth US congressional delegation to visit the island after the Biden administration took office.

While US lawmakers have expressed their support for the island authorities, the US military has also launched provocative acts in the Taiwan Straits. The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson sailed through the Taiwan Straits making waves in the public opinion on April 26.

"The frequent provocations of the US have sent wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' forces and deliberately undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits," Shi Yi, the spokesperson for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement. "We firmly oppose it."

The PLA Eastern Theater Command conducted a live-fire exercise in the waters east of Taiwan Island and in the airspace southwest of the island from May 6 to 8. Chinese military experts say the frequent collusion between the US and the island has led the PLA to increase its readiness for potential military warfare.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson insisted that the US should abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three US-China Joint Communiques, honor its political commitment to China on the Taiwan question, implement President Joe Biden's statement that the US does not support Taiwan independence, and stop political manipulation on the Taiwan-related issue.