Ukraine War, August 28, 2022: New Chinese white paper points to military conquest of Taiwan

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) Adrian Geiges, “Warum Xi Jinping gerade jetzt einen Angriffskrieg auf Taiwan ankündigt,” Die Welt, den 28. August 2022;

2) Adrian Geiges, “Why Xi Jinping is announcing a war of aggression on Taiwan right now, Die Welt, August 28, 2022;

Adrian Geiges studied Chinese in Beijing and reported from there as China correspondent of the “Star”, and also lived in Shanghai and Hong Kong for several years. Together with WELT editor Stefan Aust, he is the author of the book Xi Jinping – the most powerful man in the world, the first comprehensive biography of the Chinese head of state and party.

3) “China and Taiwan: Before poking the Cyclops in the eye, think about the Party Congress and Ukraine,” Trenchant Observations, August 18, 2022;;

4) ByAlex Millson, “China’s First White Paper on Taiwan Since Xi Came to Power — In Full,” Bloomberg, August 10, 2022 (03:25 AM EDT);

5) The State Council, The People’s Republic of China, “China releases white paper on Taiwan question, reunification in new era, Xinhua, August 10, 2022 (Updated: 14:24);
Analysis

Xi Jinping’s goal is to go down in history as the Chinese leader who reunited Taiwan with mainland China. A new “White Paper” spells that out in alarming detail.

Geiges reports,

Revised Google translation

(Xi’s) government has just published a new White Paper that clearly sharpens the rhetoric.

It is overwritten: “The Taiwan question and China’s unification in the New Era.” Beijing’s propaganda describes the time since Xi Jinping came to power as a “New Era”, characterized by increased repression internally and external aggression.

According to the paper, this also has direct consequences for Taiwan: “Under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party with Xi Jinping as the core, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government have taken new and innovative measures with regard to Taiwan.” As a result, “the wheel of history continues to roll towards national reunification, and no individual or force will stop it.”

The change in the text from previous versions of the White Paper is particulatly significant:

The previous White Papers of the Chinese Government on Taiwan, published in 1993 and 2000, still stated that Beijing would permanently station “no troops and no administrative staff” in Taiwan. This sentence has now been deleted.

Xi Jinping thus breaks with the policy of the great reformer Deng Xiaoping. He had a brilliant idea, first for Hong Kong and Macau, then also for Taiwan: one country, two systems. The territories should nominally belong to China, but govern themselves internally and retain their previous system.

It is probably no coincidence that this update and revised language of the White Paper is being issued on the eve of the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress, where it will likely be endorsed as the official policy of the Party.

While the visit of Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan probably did not affect the drafting of the paper, it could have affected the timing of its release, along with other factors such as the disastrous meeting of Antony Blinken with foreign minister Wang Yi in Anchorage in March 2021, President Biden’s refusal to accede to Xi’s direct and personal request made in a telephone call that the Pelosi visit be canceled, the failure of the Biden administration to loudly celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Shanghai Communjqué, and the general hostility between the two countries which Biden has done little to moderate.

The question is and will remain for Xi and China: What does China have to gain from a cooperative relationship with the United zstates?

The White Paper is not the result of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, as it clearly has been in the works for some time. That said, Pelosi’s visit and subsequent visits by Congressional delegations could accelerate the process which may ultimately lead to an invasion.

The U.S. and its allies have been put on notice: Xi Jinping intends to incorporate Taiwan into the People’s Republic of China, by negotiation if possible but by force if necessary.

Xi Jinsping is 69 years old. That gives him 10 years, perhaps 15, to carry out his plan and achieve his goal.

That means that so long as Xi remains in power and there is no dramatic improvement in U.S.-Chinese relations, there is a high risk that China may invade Taiwan sometime in the next 10-15 years.

Moreover, there appears to ne no reason to assume that such military action will take place later rather than earlier in this time period.

Geiges reports,

One should also ask why he is having a new White Paper on Taiwan published right now, the first in 22 years. It cannot be due to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the spokeswoman for the US House of Representatives – no policy papers are written in China at such short notice. Xi will use the most convenient time to attack. And this could also be now, as long as the West is busy with the Ukraine war and has not yet built up a strong production of semiconductors.

The outcome of the war in Ukraine could have a large impact on Xi’s calculations. What you want to accomplish is not always what you are able to accomplish.

As has been the case with Putin, there is no guarantee that Xi’s decision will be “rational” in the sense that it will appear to Western observers to be “rational” in terms of the variables they deem to be important.

Xi, like Putin, may be acting from other motivations.

The Trenchant Observer

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