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US rash to toy with idea of playing 'Taiwan card': China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-05-09 21:00

In another sign that the United States is trying to ratchet up pressure on Beijing from all fronts, the US House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 414-0 for a non-binding resolution reaffirming Washington's so-called commitment to Taiwan.

It also passed, by unanimous voice vote, the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019, promising regular arms sales to Taiwan and pledging support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

The act may come up for a vote in the Senate and, if passed, must be signed by the president before it becomes law. While that may not be certain, the blatant move to interfere in China's internal affairs suggests how readily some in the US are trying to push Sino-US relations onto a downward spiral, even though that means the interests of both countries would be severely hurt. The move, which came just two days before the latest trade talks between the world's two largest economies were due to start, cannot but raise worries over how Sino-US relations will develop in the days to come.

The US stance on Taiwan was a make-or-break precondition for establishing diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington four decades ago. It was only after Washington, for the first time, endorsed the one-China policy that Sino-US ties were normalized. Any effort by the US to try to backtrack on that position goes against its commitments and undermines the foundation of the bilateral relationship.

Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-US relations. The US should think twice before playing the "Taiwan card", as it risks setting the country on course for a head-on collision with China, a scenario that any wise and reasoned political leaders will want to try and avoid.

China's Anti-Secession Law stipulates that national reunification is the sacred duty of all Chinese people, and the central government must take all necessary measures, even "non-peaceful means" if need be, to prevent Taiwan's secession from the motherland. Such a firm position is meant to deter separatists in Taiwan from making any trouble.

Yet the increasing US support for Taiwan-in the form of more arms sales and repeated commitments to help the island militarily has not only belied its previous promises, but also sent a wrong message to Taiwan separatists, which may embolden them to continue to push for independence, even at the risk of war.

Given that US military adventures overseas over the years have rarely served its national interests, those who clamor for a hard-line Taiwan policy should refrain from making more provocative moves on the issue before irreparable damage is done to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.

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