China retaliates with snap suspension of dialogues with US
China continues to escalate its sharp response to Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, including the snap suspension of several U.S.-China dialogues.
This all-too-predictable set of actions has been met by U.S. officials as an over-reaction and unnecessarily provocative. They live in some kind of dream world.
Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was unprecedented in many ways and clearly violated assurances that the United States had given regarding One China at the time of Sino-US normalization. At the time, the U.S. pledged that it would not engage in official contacts with Taiwan, would limit the type and level of officials sent to the island, and acknowledged (and would not challenge) China’s view that Taiwan is a part of China.
The U.S. has been eating away at these pledges for many years now and Pelosi’s trip violated virtually all of them, to no good end.
Beijing is engaged in an effort to alter the status quo regarding Taiwan, as it has done regarding disputes in the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands. It has entered a new phase of its opposition to the hollowing out of the One China policy in which it will intensify its pressure on Taiwan through a wide array of means that could prompt conflict with the United States.
China’s military actions also seem to presage an effort to put in place a blockade of Taiwan at some point, which is extremely worrisome.
And now Beijing has cut off precisely those channels of communication with Washington that could be used to manage the deepening crisis. This will make the situation even more dangerous. And yet the Biden administration seems intent on repeatedly cranking out a feckless message that Beijing is “overreacting” and has used the visit as a “pretext” to escalate, as if this will have any effect other than to pour more oil on the fire.
The Biden Administration has provided China with this ”pretext” through its gross mishandling of the Pelosi visit. It needs to treat this as the serious crisis that it is, stop the hollow rhetoric, and start taking actions that show that, as it claims, it still supports the One China policy.