Taiwan at the center of a new cold war

The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sparked many commendable reactions around the world. Nations praised his life, goals, and contributions to the progress of Japan and the world.

Yet even amid the outpouring of sympathy and condolences, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has once again found a reason to stand and dictate like an authorized parental figure.

The first sign came when Vice President William Lai (賴清德) announced he would be visiting Japan to pay his respects to Abe. Acting as if he were in charge of the guest list, Beijing let it be known that he did not approve of Lai’s visit.

Soon after, the same controlling attitude surfaced when it was announced that US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be visiting Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) immediately denounced Pelosi’s visit, saying it would “severely undermine China’s territorial sovereignty” and “would have a serious impact on the foundations Sino-American relations.

Sovereignty over Taiwan? What dream favored this?

Zhao’s remarks would sound laughable if made by children in a schoolyard confrontation, but he was speaking on the world stage and spreading the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controversy. Attentive listeners saw how this corresponded to the CCP’s rewriting of Hong Kong history.

The 1997 Hong Kong transfer would never really have happened. Why? In the CCP’s version, the Qing Manchus could never or should have made such an agreement, because the Manchu Empire was never really a Manchu Empire – it was China. This interpretation turned out to have a difficult and unfathomable logic to digest.

The CCP borrowed from then-CCP Chairman Mao Zedong (毛澤東) that if political power grows from the barrel of a gun, history can also be rewritten by such means. This is what Taiwan, Asia, the United States and the world must be aware of.

These hegemonic claims are only the beginning. They go far beyond Abe’s and Hong Kong’s funerals. The CCP’s end goal is control of the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. If Beijing can swallow the world the first steps, the rest will be easy.

Few may remember the hegemonic moves of the then Soviet Union in 1948. Intending to extend its control far into Europe, it blocked the entrances to Berlin, hoping to starve the German capital and subjugate it. The West, though war-weary, thought better and responded with the Berlin Airlift. The lines were drawn and the Cold War began in earnest.

When the airlift was successful, the Soviet-backed East German government built the Berlin Wall in 1961, which stood until 1989.

In Asia, the CCP’s hegemonic anti-democratic plan surfaced with the Tiananmen Square massacre and became clearer with Hong Kong’s broken promises after 1997 and the rewriting of its history.

Here are three quick and straightforward steps to prevent Taiwan from becoming the next Berlin. Forget any worries about provoking the CCP — it will always find a reason to be provoked.

First, in addition to challenging the PRC’s hegemonic goals by sailing through the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, the United States and other nations must begin calling at Kaohsiung.

Second, with all due respect to Pelosi, she should make her visit, even amid veiled threats of violent interference. Beijing’s attempt at hegemony will not go away. Now is not the time to be like former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, seeking “peace in our time”. The CCP and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) have their own issues to defend at the upcoming 20th Party Congress in the fall.

Third, Japan must be allowed to have a standardized military. Seventy-five years have passed since the end of the Second World War, and all the other countries have moved on. It is time for Japan to face the new threats to democracy in this ever-changing world.

Japan must remove Article 9 from its constitution and become a major naval power in Asia. It is the only country still linked by this distant past. Its navy must return to its tradition – it must pass through the Taiwan Strait and call at Kaohsiung.

If other democratic nations cannot see the new enemy at the gates, it is time to open their eyes. The CCP manipulates and operates from a simple paradigmatic past: it must be the Middle Empire in Asia and the world. He ignores any other story.

Therefore, after two years of doing nothing when action would have been the most effective, the CCP suddenly imposed severe COVID-19 related lockdowns. The virus must disappear before its national congress. Big changes are ahead as Xi seeks an unprecedented third term, and the CCP must present itself at its best.

Some might still cry, “What about the status quo?

There is no “status quo”. As early as 1996, the PRC fired missiles from either side of Taiwan in an attempt to influence its elections. It continually concocts laws by which it can convict anyone who supports Taiwan’s de facto independence. How often does the PRC Air Force enter Taiwan airspace? Enough said.

As in Berlin, the coming cold war cannot be avoided. The West saw the hegemonic encroachment of the Soviet Union engulf Poland and much of Eastern Europe. Berlin was the next step to take control of Germany.

For purists who still don’t understand this question and wonder how the United States can technically remain “undecided” on Taiwan while maintaining a “one China policy”, these actions in no way contravene the wave ” one China policy” of the United States. This policy never accepted that Taiwan was part of China – it simply understood that Taiwan was part of China in Beijing’s imagination, but never in reality.

Then return to Kaohsiung. If the navies of the United States and other countries cannot dock in Kaohsiung, they will never control or maintain the freedom of the seas in the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan has become the new Berlin. Abe saw it when he said, “Taiwan’s problem is Japan’s problem. It is time for the rest of the world to recognize the same.

When former US President John F. Kennedy was in West Berlin in 1963, he famously said, “I am a Berliner.” It is time for the United States and other democracies to respond alike with this simple and straightforward statement: “I am Taiwanese. We are all Taiwanese.

Jerome Keating is a Taipei-based writer.

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