China blasts the US for trampling on the sovereignty of other nations / by Morning Star Staff

China has imposed trade and investment sanctions on US military contractors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for supplying weapons to Taiwan

Originally published in Morning Star: The People’s Daily on February 16, 2023

CHINA’S National People’s Congress’s foreign affairs committee accused US lawmakers on Thursday of trampling on the sovereignty of other nations.

This comes after the United States passed a measure condemning a suspected Chinese spy balloon’s intrusion into US airspace.

The House of Representatives resolution, passed unanimously, condemned China for a “brazen violation” of US sovereignty and efforts to “deceive the international community through false claims about its intelligence collection campaigns.”

The Chinese foreign relations committee said the resolution “deliberately exaggerated the ‘China threat’.”

It said the move was “purely malicious hype and political manipulation.

“Some US Congress politicians fanned the flames, fully exposing their sinister designs to oppose and contain China.”

The statement added: “In fact, it is the United States that wantonly interferes in other countries’ internal affairs, violates their sovereignty and conducts surveillance on other countries.”

The statement repeated Beijing’s insistence that the balloon was an unmanned civilian weather research airship, a claim the US has dismissed.

While China expressed regret over the February 4 incident, it has since toughened its stance in response to the continued rhetoric from Washington.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said it would take measures against US entities and followed this up on Thursday by sanctioning Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Missile and Defence Corporation, saying they were now on an “unreliable entities list.”

The sanctions against the two major weapons manufacturers are said by the Chinese to be related to the sale of arms to Taiwan, but the new regulations prevent them from “engaging in import and export activities related to China.”

Along with Congress’s passing of the resolution, Washington decided to sanction six Chinese entities it said are linked to Beijing’s aerospace programmes.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also cancelled a visit to Beijing, which helped to plunge relations to their lowest in decades amid disputes over trade, human rights, Taiwan and China’s claim to the South China Sea.

Without providing evidence, US officials have said China operates a fleet of such balloons, which are a relatively inexpensive and difficult to detect method of gathering intelligence.

The US government determined the balloon posed little risk to national security and allowed it to fly across the continent before bringing it down with a missile off the coast of South Carolina.

The Morning Star is a British daily newspaper originally founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), ownership was transferred from the CPGB to an independent readers’ co-operative in 1945. The paper was then renamed and reinvented as the Morning Star in 1966. The paper describes its editorial stance as in line with Britain’s Road to Socialism, the programme of the Communist Party of Britain.

At stake in Ukraine is the future of globalized capitalism / by Samir Saul and Michel Seymour

Photo by Dmytro Smolienko/Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces/Twitter

Originally published in Canadian Dimension on November 30, 2022

Ukraine is only one front in an all-round confrontation

The far-reaching war in Ukraine is only one phase of a world-wide conflict that began earlier. In international relations, the driving forces are often obscured by surface occurrences, such as immediate military events and the din of apologetic or denunciatory rhetoric. What is at stake in Ukraine is not Ukraine: it is the future of globalized, neoliberal, financialized, US-ruled capitalism, the model that has been in place since the 1980s. While the parties gear up for the next stage of the fighting, while moronic propaganda continues unabated, even as public attention has dwindled, it is important to get to the root causes.

Hierarchical global economy

Globalization was the expedient found as a way out of the impasse faced by the Western economy following the exhaustion of the postwar economic boom. Capitalism was restructured and its territorial base broadened. As productive activities became less profitable, they were relocated to the “developing” world. The West reserved for itself the command functions, military industries, high technology and the more profitable sectors of finance and services.

Neoliberal globalism is hierarchical. At the top, the United States rules the system, uses the dollar to drain the world’s resources for its own benefit, and retains the key role of military arm of the whole structure. At the second rung, Europe, Japan and Canada reproduce the US formula and are progressively deindustrialized, financialized and service-sector oriented, while their foreign and military policies are integrated into those of the United States. At the bottom of the ladder, the rest of the world, more than 80 percent of humanity, is expected to produce industrial goods and raw materials in subcontracting economies.

The elites of the second-tier countries are in a subordinate position and are expected to bite the bullet in disputes with the US, but they are nonetheless beneficiaries of globalized capitalism, and thus are self-interestedly loyal to the US leader, no matter what the cost to their people and to their countries’ independence. Under the effect of Americanization they tend to merge with their American counterparts. As for the elites of the lowest-ranking countries, their share in globalization is, with individual exceptions, the smallest, and their countries’ room for maneuver the most limited.

The tribulations of American-centric globalism

They are of two kinds, one economic, the other political. Hailed at the outset as a guarantee of limitless and endless prosperity, financialized neoliberal globalization revealed its nature as a casino economy in crises and bubble bursts with international repercussions, notably in 1987, 1994, 1997 and 2008. Moreover, as was to be expected, the economies that produce material goods did not take kindly to their subordinate status to the rentier economies at the top of the pyramid. Their interests were translated politically in a desire for autonomy expressed through their states.

But globalization requires the compliance of states, their openness to external intervention and the loss of whole components of their sovereignty. The unipolar world knows only the state of the American hegemon, the others being only local extensions. It is monolithic and cannot tolerate autonomous tendencies, let alone withdrawals or disconnections, the risk being that a successful case set an example and led to a chain reaction of imitations.

Herein lies the motive of regime change operations in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen over the last 30 years: to destroy states so as to dislocate societies and set back economies in order to remove the means of possible autonomy.

Russia and China

The same method is being applied to Russia and China, with military pressure by means of Ukraine and Taiwan, economic threats, media campaigns and attempts at regime change. The strengthening of these two countries coincides with the relative weakening of the US, so much so that their submission becomes a precondition for continued US hegemony. Failure would expose American-centric globalism to eventual unraveling. Without disguise, Biden’s National Security Strategy, made public in October 2022, sets the sequence: put down Russia, then do the same to China.

Bleeding Russia white and inducing it to crumble is the proclaimed policy of the US. The objective is destabilization and internal collapse. This amounts to posing an existential threat to the Russian state and to Russia as a country, a situation explicitly provided for in its doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons. A Third World War looms as the outcome of this strategy.

In the event that nuclear war is avoided, an American success against Russia would prolong US hegemony and weaken China, itself destined for the same treatment. A breakup of Russia would represent the worst calamity in that country’s history, already strewn with disasters overcome at great cost. The Yeltsin years would look blessed by comparison. On the sidelines, disoriented and adrift, Europe will have its hands full rescuing its economy jeopardized by anti-Russian sanctions. It would be an understatement to qualify these stakes as enormous.

The conflict between the US and Russia is fought out in Ukraine but its scope is much wider. Can US-defined globalization continue? Can another form of globalization replace it? Can globalization be non-hierarchical? At the same time, Ukraine is only one front in an all-round confrontation pitting a dominant power, the US, and two other powers standing in its way, Russia and China. In Taiwan, a similar scenario is taking shape. Moreover, Ukraine and Taiwan are not the sole bones of contention between Washington, Moscow and Beijing. There are and will be others as Russia and China close the gap with the US and the latter strives to enlarge it by all means available, including force.

Samir Saul is a professor of history at the University of Montreal. Michel Seymour is a retired professor at the same university.

A different version of this article first appeared in Le Devoir.

Imperialism and Taiwan / by Graham Harrington

Originally published in Socialist Voice on September 5, 2022

The recent visit of the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan has sharply increased the prospect of war in the region.

The Chinese government and people strongly believe Taiwan to be their territory; and the no. 3 official in the U.S. government visiting Taiwan is a clear provocation.

Taiwan was invaded by Dutch colonists in 1624, only to be repulsed in 1662 by the Chinese national hero Zheng Chenggong. Taiwan became a full province in Qing Dynasty China in 1885. Ten years later the then Qing government lost Taiwan in a war with imperialist Japan. The Japanese were sold weapons by the United States with which to do this.

After the surrender of the Japanese following the Second World War, the Republic of China continued its war against the Chinese communists, who would go on to defeat the nationalist KMT and proclaim the People’s Republic in 1949, thus bringing to an end the Chinese Civil War.

Efforts to defeat the remaining KMT forces on Taiwan were delayed by the U.S. aggression in Korea, with hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers engaging American and other troops; and by the time the Korean War ended the United States had deployed forces to prevent the communists entering Taiwan. This would later increase to tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers, and nuclear weapons, on the territory.

The present entity known as the “Republic of China” had China’s seat at the United Nations until 1971, when the People’s Republic was recognised by the international community as the true representative of the Chinese people, with even the United States opening diplomatic relations with the PRC in 1979—and, in the process, abandoning its military presence in Taiwan.

It was clear that the Taiwan authorities could not seriously claim to represent the Chinese people. Their case only weakened further after China’s “Reform and Opening Up” led to its economic boom and corresponding improvement in the PRC’s global standing. Taiwan remained a dictatorship under the KMT until the late 1980s, with underlying tensions between the mainland KMT elite who arrived in 1949 and those who had emigrated from Fujian province over the centuries. During its rule the KMT brutally suppressed communists and leftists.

After so-called “democratisation” a variety of political forces emerged in Taiwan. These included, for the first time, pro-independence forces, and even some who wanted Taiwan to become the 51st state of the United States! Chief among these was the Democratic Progressive Party, the present ruling party in Taiwan, which is pro-secession.

In recent decades the Taiwan authorities have promoted a distinct “Taiwanese” identity, and political leaders have endorsed abandoning the One China principle.

Of course Taiwan will never be an independent state. Firstly, the PRC has stated that a declaration of independence would force it into military action to retake the territory. Secondly, a hypothetical “independent” Taiwan would essentially be a colony of the United States: its fate would be much the same as U.S. military colonies in Guam, Hawaii, and Okinawa.

Hawaii was a sovereign state until the United States invaded and annexed it in 1895. It is now the site of the U.S. army’s Pacific Command. Okinawa, a part of the Ryukyu Islands, was independent until invaded by Japan in 1879 and then occupied by the United States after Japan’s defeat in the Second World War. Today, while Okinawa only makes up 1 per cent of Japan’s territory, it has 70 per cent of the U.S. military presence in Japan.

In Okinawa alone, more than 576 American military personnel have been arrested for serious crimes, such as murder and rape. No wonder that these bases are sites of regular protests.

The People’s Republic and Taiwan enjoyed developing relations up to very recently, with students from both travelling to attend university, and tourists going on holiday. Taiwan is dependent on the mainland’s economy for its own economic development.

The PRC has offered reunification under the “One Country, Two Systems” model, similar to Hong Kong and Macau. This would bring Taiwan into the People’s Republic as an autonomous region, keeping its own political-economic system for now.

China’s recent military exercises, which surrounded the territory of Taiwan, show that the United States cannot prevent China taking military action should the situation continue to deteriorate. The United States has given Taiwan $70 billion in military aid since 1979. It is clear that U.S. imperialism is intent on provoking the Chinese leadership, despite the Chinese having the military advantage when it comes to the region around Taiwan.

The desire of China’s people to reunify with Taiwan needs no justification for an Irish audience, given our own situation in a country partitioned by external forces. The United States is making a mistake in not concentrating on its own problems rather than meddling in China’s internal affairs, as a defeat against China—coming so soon after the war in Ukraine and the withdrawal from Afghanistan—would show U.S. imperialism to be just a paper tiger.

MR Online, September 13, 2022,

Can we please have an adult conversation about China? / by Vijay Prashad

Wang Bingxiu of the Shuanglang Farmer Painting Club (Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, China), Untitled, 2018.

Originally published here:

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

As the U.S. legislative leader Nancy Pelosi swept into Taipei, people around the world held their breath. Her visit was an act of provocation. In December 1978, the U.S. government–following a United Nations General Assembly decision in 1971–recognised the People’s Republic of China, setting aside its previous treaty obligations to Taiwan. Despite this, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the Taiwan Relations Act (1979), which allowed U.S. officials to maintain intimate contact with Taiwan, including through the sale of weapons. This decision is noteworthy as Taiwan was under martial law from 1949 to 1987, requiring a regular weapons supplier.

Pelosi’s journey to Taipei was part of the U.S.’s ongoing provocation of China. This campaign includes former President Barack Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’, former President Donald Trump’s ‘trade war’, the creation of security partnerships, the Quad and AUKUS, and the gradual transformation of NATO into an instrument against China. This agenda continues with President Joe Biden’s assessment that China must be weakened since it is the ‘only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge’ to the U.S.-dominated world system.

China did not use its military power to prevent Pelosi and other U.S. congressional leaders from travelling to Taipei. But, when they left, the Chinese government announced that it would halt eight key areas of cooperation with the U.S., including cancelling military exchanges and suspending civil cooperation on a range of issues, such as climate change. That is what Pelosi’s trip accomplished: more confrontation, less cooperation.

Indeed, anyone who stands for greater cooperation with China is vilified in the Western media as well as in Western-allied media from the Global South as an ‘agent’ of China or a promoter of ‘disinformation’. I responded to some of these allegations in South Africa’s The Sunday Times on 7 August 2022. The remainder of this newsletter reproduces that article.

Ghazi Ahmet (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China), Muqam, 1984.

A new kind of madness is seeping into global political discourse, a poisonous fog that suffocates reason. This fog, which has long marinated in old, ugly ideas of white supremacy and Western superiority, is clouding our ideas of humanity. The general malady that ensues is a deep suspicion and hatred of China, not just of its current leadership or even the Chinese political system, but hatred of the entire country and of Chinese civilisation–hatred of just about anything to do with China.

This madness has made it impossible to have an adult conversation about China. Words and phrases such as ‘authoritarian’ and ‘genocide’ are thrown around with no care to ascertain facts. China is a country of 1.4 billion people, an ancient civilisation that suffered, as much of the Global South did, a century of humiliation, in this case from the British-inflicted Opium Wars (which began in 1839) until the 1949 Chinese Revolution, when leader Mao Zedong deliberately announced that the Chinese people had stood up. Since then, Chinese society has been deeply transformed by utilising its social wealth to address the age-old problems of hunger, illiteracy, despondency, and patriarchy. As with all social experiments, there have been great problems, but these are to be expected from any collective human action. Rather than seeing China for both its successes and contradictions, this madness of our times seeks to reduce China to an Orientalist caricature–an authoritarian state with a genocidal agenda that seeks global domination.

Dedron (Tibet Autonomous Region, China), Untitled, 2013.

This madness has a definite point of origin in the United States, whose ruling elites are greatly threatened by the advances of the Chinese people–particularly in robotics, telecommunications, high-speed rail, and computer technology. These advances pose an existential threat to the advantages long enjoyed by Western corporations, who have benefited from centuries of colonialism and the straitjacket of intellectual property laws. Fear of its own fragility and the integration of Europe into Eurasian economic developments has led the West to launch an information war against China.

This ideological tidal wave is overwhelming our ability to have serious, balanced conversations about China’s role in the world. Western countries with a long history of brutal colonialism in Africa, for instance, now regularly decry what they call Chinese colonialism in Africa without any acknowledgment of their own past or the entrenched French and U.S. military presence across the continent. Accusations of ‘genocide’ are always directed at the darker peoples of the world–whether in Darfur or in Xinjiang–but never at the U.S., whose illegal war on Iraq alone resulted in the deaths of over a million people. The International Criminal Court, steeped in Eurocentrism, indicts one African leader after another for crimes against humanity but has never indicted a Western leader for their endless wars of aggression.

The fog of this New Cold War is enveloping us today. Recently, in the Daily Maverick and the Mail & Guardian, I was accused of promoting ‘Chinese and Russian propaganda’ and having close links to the Chinese party-state. What is the basis of these claims?

Firstly, elements in Western intelligence attempt to brand any dissent against the Western assault on China as disinformation and propaganda. For instance, my December 2021 report from Uganda debunked the false claim that a Chinese loan to the country sought to take over its only international airport as part of a malicious ‘debt trap project’–a narrative that has also been repeatedly debunked by leading U.S. scholars. Through conversations with Ugandan government officials and public statements by Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija, I found, however, that the deal was poorly understood by the state but that there was no question of the seizure of Entebbe International Airport. Despite the fact that Bloomberg’s entire story on this loan was built on a lie, they were not tarred with the slur of ‘carrying water for Washington’. That is the power of the information war.

Yang Guangqi of the Shuanglang Farmer Painting Club (Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, China), Untitled, 2018.

Secondly, there is a claim about my alleged links to the Chinese Communist Party based on the simple fact that I engage with Chinese intellectuals and have an unpaid post at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, a prominent think tank based in Beijing. Yet, many of the South African publications that have made these outrageous claims are principally funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Soros took the name of his foundation from Karl Popper’s book, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945), in which Popper developed the principle of ‘unlimited tolerance’. Popper argued for maximum dialogue and that opinions against one’s own should be countered ‘by rational argument’. Where are the rational arguments here, in a smear campaign that says dialogue with Chinese intellectuals is somehow off-limits but conversation with U.S. government officials is perfectly acceptable? What level of civilisational apartheid is being produced here, where liberals in South Africa are promoting a ‘clash of civilisations’ rather than a ‘dialogue between civilisations’?

Countries in the Global South can learn a great deal from China’s experiments with socialism. Its eradication of extreme poverty during the pandemic–an accomplishment celebrated by the United Nations–can teach us how to tackle similar obstinate facts in our own countries (which is why Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research produced a detailed study about the techniques that China employed to achieve this feat). No country in the world is perfect, and none is above criticism. But to develop a paranoid attitude towards one country and to attempt to isolate it is socially dangerous. Walls need to be knocked down, not built up. The U.S. is provoking a conflict due to its own anxieties about China’s economic advances: we should not be drawn in as useful idiots. We need to have an adult conversation about China, not one imposed upon us by powerful interests that are not our own.

My article in The Sunday Times does not address all the issues that swirl around the U.S.-China conflict. However, it is an invitation to a dialogue. If you have any thoughts on these issues, please email me.



Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He has written more than twenty books, including The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (The New Press, 2007), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016) and Red Star Over the Third World (LeftWord, 2017). He writes regularly for Frontline, the Hindu, Newsclick, AlterNet and BirGün.

MR Online, August, 12, 2021,

China Cuts Off Military, Climate Ties With US Over ‘Egregious Provocation’ by Pelosi / by Jon Queally

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R) visits Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park in New Taipei, Taiwan on August 3, 2022. (Photo: Taiwanese MFA/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Way to go, ⁦Speaker Pelosi,” said one critic. “Your visit to Taiwan really helped global cooperation on critical issues like the environment. Not.”

The Chinese government on Friday escalated its retaliatory response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan earlier this week by suspending diplomatic ties on a number of key fronts, including the climate crisis, and canceling military coordination agreements with the United States.

According to the Associated Press:

The measures, which come amid cratering relations between Beijing and Washington, are the latest in a promised series of steps intended to punish the U.S. for allowing the visit to the island it claims as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary. China on Thursday launched threatening military exercises in six zones just off Taiwan’s coasts that it says will run through Sunday. 

Missiles have also been fired over Taiwan, defense officials told state media. China routinely opposes the self-governing island having its own contacts with foreign governments, but its response to the Pelosi visit has been unusually vociferous.

In addition to the suspension or cancellation of the high-level diplomatic channels, China’s Foreign Ministry also announced unspecified sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family as punishment for the “egregious provocation” which Chinese officials had adamantly warned against.

“In disregard of China’s grave concerns and firm opposition, Pelosi insisted on visiting China’s Taiwan region,” the ministry said in a statement. “This constitutes a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”

Pelosi’s meddling, the statement continued, “gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously tramples on the one-China principle, and severely threatens peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” 

As Common Dreams reported, anti-war voices and regional experts had repeatedly urged Pelosi to reconsider the visit during her travels in Asia, warning that a stop in Taipei could further erode an already strained relationship with Beijing.

“A trip to Taiwan by the most powerful member of Congress undermines […] longstanding U.S. policy and increases the risk of another war,” said Marcy Winograd and Jim Carpenter, co-chairs of the foreign policy team for Progressive Democrats of America, in a statement ahead of Pelosi’s trip.

Following news of China’s actions on Friday, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, offered exasperated sarcasm over the latest development.

“Way to go, ⁦Speaker Pelosi,” lamented Benjamin. “Your visit to Taiwan really helped global cooperation on critical issues like the environment. Not.”

Common Dreams, August 5, 2022,

Opinion: Pelosi provocation over Taiwan leads US, the world into age of disorder and instability / by Martin Jacques

Pelosi’s dangerous gamble Cartoon: Carlos Latuff

Donald Trump’s election as US president in November 2016 marked the end of over four decades of relative stability in US-China relations. Ever since, it has been downhill all the way with barely a pause. Five years have passed and we have seen two US presidents. It would be an exaggeration to suggest that relations are in freefall, but the relationship is patently now unhinged. Predictability has been replaced by uncertainty. Trust has evaporated. It is impossible to predict what the state of the relationship will be after the US congressional elections in November, or after the next presidential election in 2024. The huge uncertainty surrounding the much-mooted visit by Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan this week summed up the present highly charged and intensely volatile nature of US-China relations. It is a salutary fact that neither President Xi Jinping nor even President Joe Biden knew whether that visit would actually go ahead.  

This is a very dangerous situation. The relationship has lost all predictability. Where previously the US-China relationship was based on a well-established and deep mutual understanding and respect for each other’s position, now there is very little, at times seemingly none. The guardrails that prevented the relationship suddenly swerving off course are no longer in place, as we have seen so dramatically over the last week or so. What makes the situation even more dangerous, frightening in fact, is the growing power vacuum in the US. Biden, up until the last minute, did not appear to know whether fellow-Democrat Pelosi would go to Taiwan. As we have seen, on two different occasions his aides intervened to reassure the media that had to reinterpret his suggestion that the US would come to Taiwan’s defence in the event of Chinese military action. 

It is impossible to predict who might be US president in 2024. It is not difficult, for example, to imagine the return of Trump or someone even worse. Meanwhile, driving the process of polarisation and fragmentation in the US is American decline. It is this, above all, which is responsible for the growing breakdown of the global order. We have entered the age of disorder and instability, both in the US itself and, of course, in the wider world. It represents a mortal threat to global peace. In just a few short years, the language of war, conquest and conflict has replaced the language of cooperation and peace. The idea of war is becoming progressively normalised. That means there is a rising likelihood of it actually happening.

It is no accident that the flashpoint is Taiwan. One of Trump’s first actions as president was to take a call from Tsai Ing-wen, the first time since 1979 that a US president had spoken with a Taiwanese regional leader. He even began to question the One-China policy, although he was dissuaded from pursuing this by wiser heads. One of the great achievements of the Nixon-Mao rapprochement was a series of understandings that for the next 40 years would inform and underpin the US-China relationship on Taiwan question. Once the US-China relationship began to unravel after 2016, it was inevitable that Taiwan question would once again become a hot-button issue. 

For China, nothing is more important than the return of the lost territories and the reunification of China. For China this is an existential question. Notwithstanding this, the PRC has shown great patience ever since the illegal occupation of the island by Chiang Kai-shek in 1949. Mao made it clear to Kissinger that China would be patient providing the One-China policy was strictly observed and the Taiwanese government did not declare independence. According to Kissinger, Mao said, “We can do without Taiwan for the time being, and let it come after 100 years.” 

Over the last five years the US has been encroaching on these understandings by increasing weapon sales to Taiwan, boosting military patrols in the region, and giving diplomatic backing to the island through visits by US politicians. A visit by Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, would raise the bar of provocation. Not since 1997 has an American of her stature visited the island. If Pelosi, then what or who next? A pattern is steadily taking shape. As the relationship between China and the US becomes increasingly unpredictable, Taiwan has become by far the most dangerous source of tension and conflict.

The Pelosi visit will serve only to raise tensions, increase suspicions, and heighten the danger of a military conflict. But even if the visit does not proceed, it will not halt the incipient process of escalation. The two countries need to reaffirm the basic principles of their long-held and shared understanding over Taiwan. The danger of a military conflict over Taiwan is now far greater than at any time since the 1970s. Any such conflict would be far more serious than if it had happened previously because China is now the equal of the US and a far more formidable military adversary. It is a conflict that both sides must seek to avoid at all costs.    

Martin Jacques was until recently a senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. He is a visiting professor at the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University and a senior fellow at the China Institute, Fudan University. Follow him on twitter

Global Times, August 2, 2022,

Xi warns Biden against interference in Taiwan / by Morning Star

U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, Nov. 6, 2021, and China’s President Xi Jinping in Brasília, Brazil, Nov. 13, 2019.

CHINESE President Xi Jinping has warned his US counterpart Joe Biden against meddling in Beijing’s dealings with Taiwan, amid rising tensions over a potential visit to the breakaway island by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

There was no indication of any progress towards agreement on contentious issues such as trade and technology exports in a phone conversation between the two leaders on Thursday night, despite it lasting three hours.

Mr Xi also warned Mr Biden against splitting the world’s two biggest economies, according to a Chinese government summary of the call.

Economists warn that such a change, brought on by trade tensions and US restrictions on technology exports, might harm the global economy by slowing innovation and increasing costs.

The Chinese government gave no indication that Mr Xi and Mr Biden had discussed Ms Pelosi’s possible plans to visit Taiwan, which the ruling Communist Party says has no right to conduct foreign relations.

But the Chinese president rejected “interference by external forces” that might encourage Taiwan to try to formalise its decades-old separation from the mainland.

“Resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian insisted today. “Those who play with fire will perish by it.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said ahead of Thursday’s call that Washington “must not arrange for Pelosi to visit Taiwan.”

He warned that the People’s Liberation Army would take “strong measures to thwart any external interference.”

Mr Xi called on the US to “honour the one-China principle,” according to Mr Zhao, referring to Beijing’s position that the mainland and Taiwan form a single country.

By contrast, Washington’s “one-China policy” takes no position on the question but wants to see it resolved peacefully.

Tensions between the US and China were underlined again yesterday when the Chinese embassy in the Philippines blasted visiting US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro for criticising Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea.

Mr Del Toro accused China of encroaching on the sovereign waters of its Asian neighbours in violation of international law, to which the Chinese embassy replied that it was “navigation bullying” by US warships in the disputed waters that could spark confrontations.

Morning Star (UK), July 29, 2022,