The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Wednesday urged the US to stop official exchanges with the island of Taiwan, because the Taiwan question is China's internal affair and not open to interference from foreign forces, as the US is planning to send US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach to Taiwan this week for "economic talks" with the authority of the island.
Chinese mainland experts noted that the US has increased its provocation to try to push back China's bottom line on the Taiwan question, and Washington could further provoke before the US presidential election in November.
The Trump administration believes that China is being restrained at the moment and waiting for the results of the US election, and that the Chinese mainland will not react to US provocations on Taiwan, the analysts said. They said China should take actions to make the US feel the pain. Otherwise, the US could send more officials to Taiwan, and other countries might also follow the US suit.
Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a press conference on Wednesday that "we urge the US to strictly abide by the Three Joint Communiqués," and "the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] authority ignores the opposition of people in the island, and insist on opening problematic agriculture imports from the US, which will harm public health on the island."
After US Secretary of Health and Human Resources Alex Azar visited Taiwan in August, the separatist DPP authority agreed to receive US pork imports containing the additive ractopamine, and the decision has received heavy criticism in the island. Krach's visit will focus on the implementation of the decision.
Taiwan media reported that the DPP authority is also planning to invite US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to visit Taiwan.
"High-level economic talks" between the island of Taiwan and the US will reportedly take place on Friday, with discussions expected to touch on restructuring supply chains and economic cooperation in the region. Krach will attend the event, Taiwan media reported on Sunday.
Krach's visit will not be finalized until the Trump administration makes a formal announcement, a Taiwan media report cited a source familiar with the matter as saying. Should the visit be confirmed, Krach will be the second high-level US official to visit Taiwan this year, following Azar's trip last month.
Yuan Zheng, a senior fellow of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the Trump administration wants to gain more economic and trade achievements from the island to show off to American voters before the election, and the DPP authority, which is flattering the US, is willing to cooperate, so the health of Taiwan residents has been traded by the DPP authority.
"But the Trump administration is breaking a tacit understanding with China. In the past, US officials sent to visit Taiwan were no higher than assistant secretary of state. The current upgrade is a very serious provocation," Yuan said.
A Chinese expert familiar with the matter who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday that in order to reduce the risk of direct conflict in the Western Pacific, since the US expects China to "fire the first shot," relevant Chinese departments and the People's Liberation Army have been very much restrained even if they also conducted a series of drills. So the US might think that it can take more provocative actions to push China's bottom line back a bit.
This attempt is dangerous, because if Washington underestimates China's determination to retaliate, the US could send more senior officials from other departments, such as the Department of Defense, to Taiwan, and other countries could follow to develop their security or political ties with the island of Taiwan, and this will seriously damage China's sovereignty, and will break the peace in the region, Yuan said.
The visit of the Czech Republic's senate speaker to Taiwan earlier this month is a very bad signal to the international community as well. After Krach's visit this weekend, some countries might believe that they can use official exchanges with Taiwan to get economic or other benefits from the island, therefore China must take actions to send a clear message, Yuan stressed.
Chinese mainland experts said that to prevent a military conflict, the Chinese mainland can consider slapping economic sanctions to make those countries and politicians feel the pain, since China has had successful experiences in the past.
Apart from sending a senior official to the island, the US also plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones, to Taiwan, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing four people familiar with the discussions.
The weapons packages from Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Atomics are moving their way through the export process, three people familiar with the status of the deals on Capitol Hill said, and a notification to the Congress is expected within weeks.
"In 1992, the Chinese mainland retaliated to French arm sales to Taiwan by canceling several major economic and infrastructure cooperation deals, including the Guangzhou metro construction and nuclear power station project. European countries realized this, and after that French case, they haven't sold arms to the island," Yuan said.
China has done something to make other countries respect its sovereignty, so this measure can be used again, Yuan noted.
On July 14, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against US arms dealer Lockheed Martin for its previous arm sales of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles to the island.
He noted that "we don't want any trouble, but sometimes, the US just forces you to take action. So we need to let the US know that being restrained to prevent a conflict doesn't mean a compromise to any provocation."
The experts said the Chinese mainland is likely to sanction the US officials and the firms who sell the problematic pork to Taiwan.