节大磊:台湾海峡是否正走向另一场危机?

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节大磊 (进入专栏)  

   Meanwhile, pro-independence forces are pushing for what has been termed a name rectification referendum for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and seeking a Taiwanese independence referendum to be held in 2019. The former calls for the name Taiwan to be used instead of the politically less sensitive name Chinese Taipei when the island participates in the 2020 Summer Olympics, while the latter could trigger the use of force by Beijing as stipulated in mainland China’s Anti-Secession Law. In short, on top of not fully endorsing the 1992 Consensus, Tsai represents for many in Beijing an ominous trend toward Taiwanese independence, albeit in a more incremental way than Chen before her.

  

   In fairness, Tsai also sees Beijing as changing Taipei’s status quo. Due to deep distrust of Tsai and displeasure at her refusal to fully recognize the 1992 Consensus, Beijing started to send signals and put pressure on her government, first by withholding certain benefits and later by what Taipei perceived as more coercive means of constraining its international space and displaying Chinese military power.

  

   China’s response to Taiwan has taken various forms. After Tsai assumed power, official contact between the two sides was almost immediately suspended, and the number of tour groups and students from mainland China that visit Taiwan dropped significantly. The informal diplomatic truce that Beijing and Taipei had tacitly maintained during the Ma administration also ended, as China resumed efforts to encourage Taiwan’s few remaining allies to abandon formal diplomatic relations with the island. Since Tsai’s inauguration, Taiwan has lost five diplomatic allies: São Tomé and Príncipe in December 2016, Panama in June 2017, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso in May 2018, and El Salvador in August 2018.

  

   Taiwan’s international space has shrunk in other respects as well. Taiwanese representatives were denied access to the UN World Health Assembly in 2017 and 2018 after attending under observer status since 2009. A similar situation transpired at the UN International Civil Aviation Organization’s Council Assembly in 2016. In the eyes of Taipei, the pressure campaign is intensifying as Beijing—to better reflect the One China principle—has pushed for changes to the names of the island’s representative offices in countries with unofficial relations with Taiwan. Similarly, China has made demands about how foreign airlines should refer to Taiwan on their websites. Militarily speaking, Taiwan has noted the increasing frequency of encirclement drills around Taiwan by People’s Liberation Army Air Force aircraft, appearances by Chinese aircraft carrier battle groups in the Taiwan Strait, and Chinese live-fire drills in waters not far from the island.

  

   Despite all of these unsettling developments, the two sides are not yet on a path of irreversible hostility, and the possibility of salvaging cross-strait relations still remains. But recent U.S. policies under President Donald Trump could change that.

  

   ENTER WASHINGTON

  

   As in other policy areas, Trump’s 2016 electoral victory has brought a great deal of uncertainty and unpredictability to cross-strait relations. Trump’s unorthodox phone call with Tsai (something no U.S. president had done for about forty years) and his careless statement temporarily questioning whether the United States would continue to stand by its One China policy marked a rocky start.

  

   For a time, Washington’s Taiwan policy seemed to return to normal after Trump reaffirmed the United States’ One China policy in February 2017 and held an amicable, fruitful summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2017. Yet toward the end of 2017, a series of moves by the U.S. Congress and the White House seemed to suggest to Beijing that Washington is determined to escalate its efforts to use the sensitive issue of Taiwan to exert geopolitical leverage over mainland China. To make things worse, these changes have taken place as the United States contemplates adjusting its China policy in fundamental ways and as Beijing and Washington are engaged in a highly contentious trade dispute with potentially disastrous consequences.

  

Most conspicuous from Beijing’s perspective were Trump’s decisions to sign into law the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in late 2017 and the Taiwan Travel Act (TTA) in March 2018. The 2018 NDAA not only reaffirmed the long-standing Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances—provisions that set the terms of Washington’s informal relationship with Taipei—but also recommended that the United States expand and elevate military relations with Taiwan,(点击此处阅读下一页)

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