The United States, Japan, and South Korea will fully operationalize a missile warning system “by the end of December.” While justified as a means to counter North Korea’s missile launches, more worrisome, it escalates tensions in the region with China through the “NATOification” of all three countries, agreed upon in the “Spirit of Camp David” agreement. The agreement was hailed as a “new era of trilateral partnership” during the August 18 press conference following a meeting between the heads of state of all three countries. Western media echoed the sentiment, calling it “historic” and “unprecedented.” China, listed in the agreement as a regional concern, accused the United States of creating a “mini NATO in Asia.”
Fishers, organizers, and concerned citizens in Texas, Vietnam, and Louisiana — areas that are home to existing or proposed Formosa plants — have supported each other’s efforts to mobilize against the Taiwan-based firm, forming the organization International Monitor Formosa Alliance (IMFA). Now the alliance is launching a hunger strike to demand that the victims of a 2016 environmental disaster in central Vietnam caused by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, a subsidiary of the Formosa Plastics Group, be compensated for their losses, that the polluted area be restored, and that those who have been jailed for protesting be released.
It is impossible to look away from what the Israeli government is doing to Palestinians not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank. Waves of Israeli aircraft pummel Gaza, destroying communications networks and thereby preventing families from reaching each other, journalists from reporting on the destruction, and Palestinian authorities and United Nations agencies from providing humanitarian assistance. This violence has spurred on protests across the world, with the planet’s billions outraged by the asymmetrical destruction of the Palestinian people. If the Israeli government claims that it is conducting a form of ‘politicide’ – excising organised Palestinian forces from Gaza – the world sees Israeli aircrafts and tanks as conducting nothing but a genocide, displacing and massacring Palestine refugees in Gaza, 81% of whose residents were expelled from, or are the descendants of those who were expelled from, what was declared Israel in 1948.
On Friday, the White House rolled out its proposed $105 billion bill to arm Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The legislation also includes funding for the border and humanitarian assistance. US officials say over $50 billion will go to American weapons manufacturers. The Biden administration is proposing a massive aid package as it has struggled to get Congress to appropriate more funds for the proxy war in Ukraine. The largest portion of money is for Ukraine at $61.4 billion. The White House wants enough money for Ukraine to fund Kiev through the 2024 election. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan described the aid as critical to American national security and demanded Congress pass the bill.
Recently, in Taiwan, the government unveiled its first home-built submarine. In Japan, the government will upgrade civilian airports and seaports to dual military use in preparation for conflict in Taiwan. The U.S. and allies maneuver to contain China, Russia, and North Korea, while the latter band together against the former’s economic sanctions and military threats. Both blocs test the strength and resilience of the region’s stability. And while North Korea has been the regional bogeyman for decades, if war breaks out, it will likely be in Taiwan. While China has called for an “indivisible security” where security is dependent upon the security of all, U.S. discourse has centered around the containment of China and deterring war… by preparing for it.
China has decided to impose sanctions against the US-based Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin defense technology companies over an alleged arms supply to Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday. “Lockheed Martin Corporation, St. Louis, MO directly participated in the US arms sale to Taiwan announced on August 24 as the principal contractor. Northrop Grumman participated in several US arms sales to Taiwan. In accordance with the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law of the People’s Republic of China, China decides to impose sanctions on these two above-mentioned US defense corporations,” the spokeswoman told a briefing.
Vice President Lai’s journey to the United States is, officially, only a stopover on his way to Paraguay (the U.S. does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent state). He is scheduled to make appearances in both New York and San Francisco. Lai himself is an outspoken leader of the growing movement for Taiwanese independence. Many nationalists see Taiwan as culturally different from the mainland and argue it would be better off as a fully independent state. To achieve this goal, they are attempting to gain American backing and influence American public opinion. China, however, sees the matter as purely internal, and American attempts to wrest Taiwan out of its orbit as a potential trigger for World War Three.
Taiwan is but one in a series of islands along the Chinese coast, often called “The First Island Chain,” which now bristles with advanced U.S. weapons. These are accompanied by tens of thousands of supporting U.S. military personnel and combat troops. The “First Island Chain” extends from Japan in the north southward through Japan’s Ryukyu islands which include Okinawa, to Taiwan and on to the northern Philippines. (U.S. ally, South Korea, with a military of 500,000 active duty personnel and 3 million reserves is a powerful adjunct to this chain.) In US military doctrine the First Island Chain is a base to “project power” and restrict sea access to China.
Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s Representative in the United States, is a familiar figure in the halls of power but she does not often make public speeches. So a recent talk and press conference by Ms. Hsiao deserve some attention. The One China Policy, endorsed by the US and UN, does not recognize Taiwan Island as an independent country but as part of China, with the government in Beijing providing the official ambassadors to the US and UN. Hence Hsiao is not an “ambassador” but a “representative,” and her organization is known as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO). Her presence and activities in the US are sensitive points in the US-China relationship, which is why she does not often make public appearances.
Workers World Party and International Action Center delegates traveled to the People’s Republic of China in May as part of an educational and political exchange organized by the China-U.S. Solidarity Network. The purpose of the delegation was multifold: to conduct research that brings truth to expose the lies of the U.S. empire, as well as to strengthen international friendships and forge a more resilient global anti-imperialist movement. Among the many stops on this tour was a meeting in Beijing with representatives of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (Taimeng). One of eight parties in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a united front under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, Taimeng works alongside the CPC to formulate the government’s policy in regard to relations between the mainland and Taiwan.
US Indo-Pacific Command accused a Chinese warship of acting in an “unsafe manner” when it passed a US Navy guided-missile destroyer that was transiting the Taiwan Strait with a Canadian frigate on Saturday. The command said in a statement that the Chinese warship overtook the USS Chung-Hoon in the Taiwan Strait and passed within 150 yards of its bow. The statement said the Chung-Hoon had to slow its speed to 10 knots (nautical miles per hour). The US military frames its Taiwan Strait transits as “routine,” but Beijing views them as provocations. In recent years, the US has increased its military activity around Taiwan and in the South China Sea, ignoring Beijing’s warnings.
Taiwan’s foreign minister said last week that the US and Taiwan are in talks on the possibility of the island being brought under Washington’s nuclear umbrella, a step that would make a catastrophic war between the US and China much more likely. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu made the comments before Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan. Wu declined to detail the talks when pressed if Taiwan had asked the US to bring the island into its nuclear umbrella. “Regarding the discussion of this issue with the United States, it is not suitable for me to make it public here,” Wu said, according to The South China Morning Post.
On 7 October 2022, the United States government implemented export controls in an effort to hinder the development of China’s semiconductor industry. An expert on the subject told the Financial Times, ‘The whole point of the policy is to kneecap China’s AI [Artificial Intelligence] and HPC [High Performance Computing] efforts’. The next day, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said: In order to maintain its sci-tech hegemony, the US has been abusing export control measures to wantonly block and hobble Chinese enterprises. Such practice runs counter to the principle of fair competition and international trade rules. It will not only harm Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests but also hurt the interests of US companies.
More than 50 political parties in the island of Taiwan staged a protest outside Taoyuan Airport in Taipei on Friday against regional leader Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The Friday activity, themed “Anti-Taiwan independence, anti-interference” started around 7:30 pm and lasted for more than an hour. More than 200 people from over 50 political parties – including the Labor Party of Taiwan, the Reunification Alliance Party, the Chinese Unification Promotion Party, and the New Party – gathered outside the airport, calling for reunification and waving banners with slogans such as “Tsai-McCarthy selling Taiwan” and “We want no war, but peace.”
The following statement, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on 6 April 2023, expresses China’s strong objection to the US’s facilitation of Tsai Ing-wen’s transit through the US, during which she had a high-profile meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The statement points out that this visit forms part of an increasingly consistent pattern by the US of undermining the One China principle and encouraging Taiwanese separatism, with a view to stoking cross-Strait tensions and weakening China. The statement urges the US to return to a framework of international law and to its obligations under the three China-US joint communiqués.