Amid escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, a senior Republic of China diplomat has accused the communist government of deliberately creating the crisis.
“The Beijing government is currently trying to manufacture a crisis over a practice that has been ongoing for decades, and they are using this as a pretext,” said Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s representative to the United States, in a recent CBS interview.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan last Tuesday, following a string of hostile screeds from communist Chinese officials and pundits warning that the trip would impair Sino-American relations. In one instance, a prominent Chinese polemicist even suggested the armed forces shoot down Pelosi’s plane.
The White House has adamantly denied that Pelosi’s visit was intended to signal a shift in U.S. diplomatic posture toward the Republic of China or that the administration supports Taiwan independence.
Hsiao went on to describe Beijing’s methods of attacking the island beyond direct invasion.
“Well, the Chinese have not renounced the use of force,” she said on “Face the Nation.” “While we call on them to engage in dialogue for a peaceful revolution, they have been intensifying threats towards Taiwan. That is not only on a military level, it has involved a hybrid tool kit of public disinformation, cyber attacks, economic coercion.”
“They have a broad tool kit that we have become more and more accustomed to. But again, that is not going to change our determination to defend our freedom,” she continued.
Both the People’s Republic of China, based in Beijing, and the Republic of China, based in Taiwan, adhere to the “One China Principle,” acknowledging the existence of a single, united Chinese state with claims on the territory of both regimes, though each claim to be the legitimate government of the polity. Taiwan does not claim independence from China though Beijing regards the island as being under separatist control.
The island came under Republic of China control after World War II and became that government’s final bastion when its leader, Chiang Kai-shek, gave the order to evacuate the mainland following his defeat in the Chinese Civil War in 1949. The People’s Republic of China has never directly administered Taiwan.
Hsiao concluded with a plea for China to be mindful of its role in the world and to be a responsible player in the global environment.
“If China is to evolve as a responsible stakeholder in the global community, it’s really up to Beijing to decide if their rejuvenation, if China’s rejuvenation, will evolve with international respect or with international condemnation,” she concluded.