节大磊:台湾海峡是否正走向另一场危机?

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进入专题: 台湾问题   两岸关系   中美关系   国际安全  

节大磊 (进入专栏)  
including through the possibility of port of call exchanges between the two navies.

  

   The TTA, meanwhile, was passed by voice vote in the House of Representatives and by unanimous consent in the Senate. The law aims to break self-imposed constraints on the level of official contact between government officials in Washington and Taipei. Although the TTA amounts to a nonbinding “formal opinion” known as a sense of Congress resolution, its passage and the level of congressional support it attracted sent a strong message to Beijing.

  

   U.S. experts like to emphasize that such legislation requires few tangible policy actions for now, but these provisions do nonetheless increase the likelihood that these proposals will become routine practices in the future. Some pessimists in mainland China consequently worry that the United States’ long-standing One China policy could very well hang in the balance. Furthermore, many Chinese observers interpreted the fact that Trump signed the TTA instead of letting it automatically take effect after a set amount of time as proof that the White House is actively taking a revisionist stance on the One China policy.

  

   Other parts of the U.S. government have done things that have reinforced China’s misgivings. In April 2018, the State Department approved a marketing license for U.S. companies to sell submarine technologies to Taiwan. Moreover, for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis stressed U.S. commitments to Taiwan under the TRA at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major security conference held each year in Singapore. The venue of such a prominent regional security forum heightened Beijing’s concerns that Washington is attempting to turn Taiwan’s security into a regional security issue. Although former secretary of defense Leon Panetta also mentioned the TRA at the 2012 Shangri-La Dialogue, he spoke about the Three Communiqués and One China policy too, delivering his speech in the context of improving cross-strait relations. By contrast, Vice President Mike Pence echoed Mattis's remarks when he gave a major October 2018 speech on U.S. policy toward China, in which he “condemned” mainland Chinese efforts to poach three of Taiwan’s Latin American allies.

  

   In a nutshell, Beijing senses that there seems to be a collective interagency push in some parts of the U.S. government to elevate U.S.-Taiwan relations at the expense of the country’s One China policy. Even if the most pronounced pro-Taiwan views of U.S. officials such as National Security Adviser John Bolton and Assistant Secretary of Defense Randy Schriver are not yet totally reflected in formal U.S. policy, Beijing is understandably alarmed at how things in Washington seem to be trending.

  

   In light of the already fragile relationship between Beijing and Taipei, cross-strait tensions could be aggravated or even driven to a crisis point in at least two ways. First, out of concern about Washington’s policy adjustments, Beijing could respond by retaliating against Taiwan as it is the easier target. If that were to happen, the Tsai government could conceivably conclude that the relatively restrained approach it has pursued to date does not work and switch to more radical tactics. Such a reversal on Tsai’s part could in turn convince Beijing that its fears about Tsai are completely justified, prompting the relationship to deteriorate further.

  

   In fact, this kind of dynamic may already be at play. After Burkina Faso established diplomatic relations with China at the end of May 2018, Tsai’s response was much tougher than her past statements after losing previous diplomatic allies, as she accused Beijing of challenging Taiwan’s “bottom line” and stated that Taiwan will “no longer tolerate” such developments.

  

   Second, Washington’s pro-Taiwan policies could make Taipei believe that it is possible to integrate the island’s security into U.S. defense arrangements in the region. Attempts to turn the Taiwan issue into a regional or international security matter have always been an extremely sensitive subject for Beijing, yet Taipei seems to be actively seeking that outcome. During a recent interview, Tsai tried to expose China’s purported ambitions to become a regional hegemon, and she appealed to the international community to “constrain China.” Then at the Double Ten Day celebration on October 10, 2018, Tsai again accused China of attempting to change the “regional status quo” and stated that “the entire world is dealing with the expansion of Chinese influence.”

  

Likewise, at a conference in Washington, DC, in July 2018, the Mainland Affairs Council’s Minister Chen Ming-tong cited the U.S. National Security Strategy’s characterization of China as a “revisionist power” and warned other countries about China’s “sharp power” and Beijing’s supposed intentions to change the international order.(点击此处阅读下一页)

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